Opinion  People 

Mangado after the Baluarte: a Civic Architecture

Kenneth Frampton 

Among the more remarkable cultural phenomena of our time is the amount of civic architecture that has been realized in Spain over the past three decades. There is perhaps no other country in the Western world where there has been such an intense production of exceptional public buildings in every conceivable genre. There are no doubt many reasons for this, among them the dearth of building in Spain during the Franquista period when the country was not only impoverished but also isolated from the main vectors of modernization. This led to an institutional backlog that needed to be remedied first in the period after the softening of the Franquista regime in the late 50’s and then, to more amply and extensively after Franco’s demise in 1975. Further to this one needs to acknowledge the time-honored pride of the Spanish city-state that, like its Italian counterpart, maintains a sense of civic identity and economic independence that is largely without parallel in the more centralized European states, where power and culture still tends to be concentrated in either the financial or the political core of each respective country; hence the elite status of London, Paris, Dublin, Milan, Zurich etc. The devolution of power from Madrid in 1978 and the corresponding redistribution of wealth only served to strengthen the autonomy and cultural independence of the Spanish provincial city... [+]

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