roberto conte captures madrid's brutalist architecture heritage in new photo series

roberto conte captures madrid's brutalist architecture heritage in new photo series

award-winning architectural photographer roberto conte has captured the brutalist architecture heritage of madrid in a new photo series. from concrete residential structures to skyscrapers and churches, the series documents some of the most representative examples of brutalism in the spanish capital, built between the 60s and the 80s.roberto conte captures madrid's brutalist architecture heritage in new photo seriestorres blancas – francisco javier sáenz de oíza (1961-1969)

all images by roberto conte

 

 

‘a historically and politically important city like madrid offers a huge number of architectures of different styles, from baroque to renaissance, from the art déco of the carriòn building on gran via to the contemporary skyscrapers of the quatro torres on paseo de la castellana or the caixaforum by herzog & de meuron, just to name a few,’ notes roberto conte. however, the link between the spanish capital and brutalist architecture is not spontaneous, although there are many examples of it with rather peculiar stories and results, as I try to illustrate through this photographic project carried out in 2020.’roberto conte captures madrid's brutalist architecture heritage in new photo seriestorres blancas – francisco javier sáenz de oíza (1961-1969)

 

 

as conte explains, almost all the brutalist buildings in madrid – built between the 60s and the 80s, in a period of gradual and progressive liberation of spain from francoism – were built by architects from spain, or even from madrid. the only construction in the series built by non-spanish architects is the remarkable ‘los cubos’ building (1974-1981, renovated between 2017 and 2020) by the french team of michel andrault, pierre parat, aydin guvan and alain capieu. at the same time, madrid-based architects fernando higueras díaz and antonio miró valverde are behind one of the most representative buildings of brutalism in the whole country: the instituto del patrimonio cultural de españa (1964-1988). the imposing circular structure is nicknamed ‘corona de espinas’ (crown of thorns) due to its peculiar crowning.roberto conte captures madrid's brutalist architecture heritage in new photo serieschurch of nuestra señora del rosario de filipinas – cecilio sanchez-robles tarín (1967-1970)

 

 

higueras and miró are also behind edificio princesa (1967-1974), a residential structure characterized by an expressive language that marks the building with wide horizontal balconies lightened by hanging gardens and lush vertical vegetation. another iconic building, perhaps the best known of the period, is the skyscraper known as ‘torres blancas’ (plural because they originally planned two of them). designed by francisco javier sáenz de oíza in the 1960s, with its 25 floors spread over 71 meters, it represents one of the most important examples of organic architecture in the iberian country. cylindrical elements intersect each other in an ascensional progression that is reminiscent of some japanese metabolist solutions.roberto conte captures madrid's brutalist architecture heritage in new photo serieschurch of nuestra señora del rosario de filipinas – cecilio sanchez-robles tarín (1967-1970)

 

 

among the many modernist churches in madrid, the series highlights the nuestra señora del rosario de filipinas, by cecilio sanchez-robles tarín. ‘strongly inspired by le corbusier, the religious structure’s external façade shows austere volumes that overlap on the external façade,’ says roberto conte. ‘the interior, covered by wavy shapes, offers a surprising effect of darkness interrupted by the light coming from the opening located at the altar, solutions that closely resemble william n. berger’s contemporary tribeca synagogue in new york.’

roberto conte captures madrid's brutalist architecture heritage in new photo series

church of santa ana y la esperanza, by miguel fisac serna (1965-1966)

 

another religious building in the series is the church of santa ana y la esperanza, built between 1965 and 1966 by miguel fisac serna in the suburb of moratalaz. the church was built shortly before the nuestra señora del rosario de filipinas, and with a similar intuition in the management of natural light. the back wall, behind the altar, is divided by three evocative concave spaces related to different moments of the liturgical rite.roberto conte captures madrid's brutalist architecture heritage in new photo seriesinstituto del patrimonio cultural de españa – cultural heritage institute of spain – fernando higueras díaz and antonio miró valverde (1964-1988)

 

 

‘the church was built between 1965 and 1966 by miguel fisac serna, an important and prolific architect who created other interesting buildings in madrid, including the headquarters of the jorba laboratories better known as “la pagoda”, an extraordinary structure unfortunately demolished in 1999, despite many protests,’ explains conte. ‘fisac himself considered it a “revenge” by opus dei, a catholic organization made in spain of which the architect used to be a member (from 1935 to 1955). in the mid-1960s, fisac also built an office building that still stands out thanks to a simple combination of curved elements arranged alternately, which make the façade particularly dynamic while ensuring natural lighting in the rooms.’roberto conte captures madrid's brutalist architecture heritage in new photo seriesdepartment of information sciences (complutense university of madrid) – josé maría laguna martínez and juan castañón fariña (1971-1979)roberto conte captures madrid's brutalist architecture heritage in new photo seriesdepartment of information sciences (complutense university of madrid) – josé maría laguna martínez and juan castañón fariña (1971-1979)roberto conte captures madrid's brutalist architecture heritage in new photo seriesedificio los cubos – michel andrault, pierre parat, aydin guvan and alain capieu (1974-1981)

roberto conte captures madrid's brutalist architecture heritage in new photo series

instituto del patrimonio cultural de españa – cultural heritage institute of spain – fernando higueras díaz and antonio miró valverde (1964-1988)

roberto conte captures madrid's brutalist architecture heritage in new photo seriesbeatriz building – eleuterio población knappe (1968-1976)

roberto conte captures madrid's brutalist architecture heritage in new photo seriesbeatriz building – eleuterio población knappe (1968-1976)

roberto conte captures madrid's brutalist architecture heritage in new photo seriestorre de valencia – javier carvajal ferrer (1968-1973)

roberto conte captures madrid's brutalist architecture heritage in new photo seriestorre de valencia – javier carvajal ferrer (1968-1973)

roberto conte captures madrid's brutalist architecture heritage in new photo seriesedificio princesa, residential buildings for the military housing cooperative – fernando higueras díaz, antonio miró valverde and carlos garcía rodríguez (1967-1974)

 

 

series info:

 

photographer: roberto conte

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