Friday, August 9, 2013

Javier Carvajal, 1926 - 2013

Business School, Barcelona, 1961. Wikicommons & U. of Navarra

I am behind on news stories that haven't made the jump between Spanish and English readers. The most important was the death last June 14th in Madrid of architect Javier Carvajal at the age of 87.

Carvajal was a key figure in the revival of modern architecture in Spain in the 1950s and 60s. He was an important model for the more abstract formalist work of many Spanish architects today - especially among those who share his conservative politics and religious values. His identification with the Franco regime in the tumultuous 1970s, in positions of power such as director of the Barcelona School of Architecture and the Madrid College of Architects, cost him dearly in later years.

Emblematic works include:
  •  Residential tower, Plaza de Cristo Rey, Madrid, 1954-58, with Rafael García de Castro (seen in the classic comic movie Los Tramposos of 1959, with Tony LeBlanc).
  • Business School, University of Barcelona, 1955-61, with García de Castro.
  • Pantheon to the Spanish Dead, Rome, 1957, with his brilliant contemporary, José María García de Paredes, a prelude to his stark, expressionist, abstract style of the 1960s.
  • Church of Our Lady of the Angels, Vitoria, 1958-60, also with García de Paredes.
  • Directed Settlement of Almendrales, Madrid, 1958-64, with García de Paredes, José Antonio Corrales and Ramón Vázquez Molezún. Pioneering public housing.
  • Spanish Pavilion, New York World's Fair, 1964.
  • A series of houses in northern Madrid in the 1960s, exemplified by his own house in Somosaguas,1964-65, where his expressionist style came into over-ripe maturity. It was the setting for Carlos Saura's claustraphobic 1969 movie La Madriguera.
  • Valencia Tower, Madrid, 1968-72, which provoked protests for intruding on views of the Retiro Park and the Puerta de Alcalá.  

Garcia-Valdecasas House, Somosaguas, 1965. Photo ©Jorge Losada

The story in the press:

Other interesting web pages:
  • Photos of late work by Jorge Losada 
  • Tallermuse blog: photos by Javier Villa, coll-barreu-arquitectos, Ekain Jiménez Valencia, Garikoitz Estornés and others, with texts and list of works on blog. All the photos below come from this source.

This and below, Carvajal House, Somosaguas 1965


Sobrino House, Aravaca 1966

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