The exhibition presents 50s projects, carried out in the Mediterranean environment, by a heterogeneous group of Spanish and foreign architects: Francisco Juan Barba Corsini, Bassó and Gili, Bohigas and Martorell, Antonio Bonet Castellana, Coderch and Valls, Correa and Milá , Luigi Cosenza, Carlos de Miguel, Harnden and Bombelli, Gio Ponti, Josep Pratmarsó, Bernard Rudofsky and Josep M. Sostres.
“Imagining the Mediterranean house. Italy and Spain in the 50s”
12 October, 2019 – 12 January, 2020
ICO Foundation Museum
C/ Zorrilla, 3 Madrid
From 1949, in a climate of local obscurantism, the presence of some international figures in Spain was decisive to turn local architecture: the Italian Gio Ponti (1891-1979) and the Italian-Swiss Alberto Sartoris (1901- 1998) – to which we must add the decisive role, from an ideological and existential point of view, of the Austrian Bernard Rudofsky (1905-1988) – not only introduce an air of cultural modernization, but also use Mediterraneanism as the main vehicle of architectural renovation.
These authors will thus become the main transmitters of a peculiar idea of modern architecture -very well received by the Spanish profession-, in which respect for the environmental potential of the site acquires relevance along with an updated recovery of the architectural tradition, configuring The landscape as a project theme.
Finally, in the fifties, the process of reincorporation of Spanish architecture in the international debate will be done in particular through two main paradigms: interest in the popular – outside the canons of picturesqueism – and an unprecedented approach to the “genius” of Gaudí, misunderstood and marginalized for a long time, through a reconsideration process that will be carried out both from Italy and from Spain.
The Spanish Pavilion in the IX Triennale of Milan (1951) represents a moment of synthesis of these issues, launched already – as visions of a country in the renovation phase – towards full acceptance by the international world. In it, an architectural installation by José Antonio Coderch, curator of the exhibition together with Rafael Santos Torroella, contains a surprising and surreal montage of art from the past, modern art, popular traditions and extraordinary photographs of Joaquim Gomis and Leopoldo Plasencia, who they relate Gaudinian architecture with images of popular Ibizan houses.
The “modern” discovery of popular construction had representative testimonies through other Italian media besides Domus, such as Spazio and Comunità magazines; or it will be reflected in the chronicles and photographic reports made at the same time by another great Italian architect: Luigi Figini.
From this moment, José Antonio Coderch becomes an active correspondent, from Spain, of the mythical Italian magazine Domus, directed at that time by Gio Ponti. His teaching, focused on an original production of domestic architecture in the Mediterranean context will influence projects of the coast of great relevance, such as those of Federico Correa and Alfonso Milá, or Peter Harnden and Lanfranco Bombelli, disseminated through the pages of this prestigious magazine Italian
Significantly, the exhibition route closes with the last house built by Bernard Rudofsky in Frigiliana (Málaga), whose administrative plans were signed by José Antonio Coderch.
The exhibition shows and contextualizes sketches, drawings, projects, works, magazines and various sources of information, the vast majority unpublished, with emphasis on the photographs of the time. The exhibition itinerary will be accompanied by 7 screens on which videos made in some relevant houses, such as Casa Ugalde and Casa Rovira de Coderch, will be screened.