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Tema - patrimonio
Tema - rehabilitación
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1

In this regard, we might mention the work of research groups like FAME “Fotografía y Arquitectura Moderna en España” and Click [retrieved 30-09-2019].

2

In connection with the difficulty of transmitting architecture through photography, I remember a wonderful article by de Ana Asensio in this same blog: “El sabor de la manzana y la fotografía de la arquitectura” June 2018. [Retrieved 30-09-2019].

3

The Urbanidade blog dedicated a special article to this market, providing some very interesting material: “Arquitecturas perdidas: Mercado de Olavide”, Enrique Fidel, August 2007. [Retrieved 01-10-2019]

 

4

I recommend the article by José Fernando González Romero “La estación del Ferrocarril Vasco-Asturiano en Oviedo y la desaparición de un entorno modernista”, José Fernando González Romero, [Retrieved 01-10-2019].

The Loss of the Fourth Dimension: Urban Absences

Upper floor of Francisco Javier Ferrero’s Mercado de Olavide. Source: ”Nuevos mercados madrileños” in Arquitectura, the official journal of the Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid (Madrid chartered architects’ association), nº 4, 1935.

One of the subjects I found myself discussing with colleagues at the recent INCUNA symposium in Gijon was the unfair treatment received by our urban heritage. The demolition of this heritage has deprived future generations of the opportunity to take a first-hand look at certain architectural works which we can now only study through graphic documentation. Without wishing to downplay the excellent work of many photographers throughout the 20th century and its importance as a provider of useful information, without which a major avenue of architectural research would have been lost1, the impossibility of physical access to these spaces results in a lack of first-hand information that would have been truly priceless as an aid to their interpretation2.

This loss of the fourth dimension of our architectural heritage, which can now only be viewed in photographic or planimetric form, also raises a much more important issue: that of the destruction of an unrepeatable spatial legacy. Such architectural absences sometimes become a poignantly commemorative scar or mark on the urban fabric, either in the shape of empty, negative gaps or through the substitution of pre-existing buildings by anodyne structures representative of present-day “taste”.  For those of us who never had the pleasure of enjoying them, those absences become fascinating mysteries, while for those who survived their loss they remain as sad reminders of the past.

The many examples of evocative voids and substitutory refills include two cases which I find particularly interesting: the Mercado de Olavide in Madrid and the Estación del Vasco in Oviedo. The market in Madrid3, designed by Francisco Javier Ferrero in 1934, was a unique example of its kind. Its rationalist style featured a characteristic polygonal shape which did not disappear when the building was demolished in 1974 but can still be seen in the present-day organization of that urban space. The second case was an interesting Art Nouveau train station that retained its typical spaces, its coloured enamelled tile advertisement panels and its remarkable overhead walkways connecting the different platforms4. This unique example of early 20th century railway architecture was demolished in 1989. The site was left abandoned for a long time until it was recently occupied by multi-family residential blocks. To a certain extent, the two cases bring to mind those words of Charles V which we specialists in heritage conservation find so inspiring: “You have built what you or others might have built anywhere, but you have destroyed something that was unique in the world”.

Fortunately, the reflection and self-criticism of the last few years have opened the door for us to learn from past mistakes, offering an opportunity to conserve and integrate our architectural heritage in the fabrics and the dynamics of the modern city. In the future there will be no need to lament more losses due to ignorance or a misguided notion of urban evolution, because by preserving and re-using our built urban heritage we can attain a more compact city, one which encourages mixed-use planning as a means of improving sustainability and efficiency and which, in short, safeguards the memory of our urban environments and their full significance as physical, spatial witnesses to the passage of time.


Text translated by Andrew V. Taylor
Notas de página
1

In this regard, we might mention the work of research groups like FAME “Fotografía y Arquitectura Moderna en España” and Click [retrieved 30-09-2019].

2

In connection with the difficulty of transmitting architecture through photography, I remember a wonderful article by de Ana Asensio in this same blog: “El sabor de la manzana y la fotografía de la arquitectura” June 2018. [Retrieved 30-09-2019].

3

The Urbanidade blog dedicated a special article to this market, providing some very interesting material: “Arquitecturas perdidas: Mercado de Olavide”, Enrique Fidel, August 2007. [Retrieved 01-10-2019]

 

4

I recommend the article by José Fernando González Romero “La estación del Ferrocarril Vasco-Asturiano en Oviedo y la desaparición de un entorno modernista”, José Fernando González Romero, [Retrieved 01-10-2019].

Autor:
(Gijón, 1984) Doctora Arquitecta formada en la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, la Universidade da Coruña y la Università degli Studi di Ferrara, desarrolla su actividad como investigadora en la ETSAM-UPM en el ámbito del patrimonio cultural. Colaboradora habitual y miembro de INCUNA y TICCIH-España, su actividad más relevante se centra en el estudio y difusión del patrimonio industrial arquitectónico.

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