The Rationalist architecture in the city
It was not all regionalist architecture in Seville during the first decades of 20th century. But let us not deceive ourselves; only a minority of architects dared to design according to an architecture considered avant-garde for the Seville of those years. The contribution of the latter architects was mostly unnoticed due to a broader professional and social environment not receptive to new ideas stemming from the main European centers.
The so-called modern/rationalist architecture flourished over the 20th Century, breaking with the previous architecture. Simplification of forms and absence of ornamentation combined with the use of new materials such as concrete, glass and steel. The most important representatives of this movement were Le Corbusier, Gropius, Mies Van der Rohe and Mendelsohn. The Bauhaus school was the main promoter of these new ideas in Europe.
Modern architecture in Spain at the beginning of 20th century was on the outskirts of the main European centres of influence, thus Seville was, unfortunately, located on the outskirts of the outskirts. Below we gathered the most interesting examples of rationalist architecture in our city. Only few but not less valuable.
Perhaps the first example of modern architecture was Casa Duclós, an unknown and minor building even for its own architect, Jose Luis Sert, until a group of architects from Seville Architecture School discovered and made it public in the article “The forgotten house-Casa Duclós”. This project was a wedding present from the architect to his cousin in 1929, and the first trial where he could apply much of the knowledge acquired with Le Corbusier. Sert was working with Le Corbusier for a period of time and the devotion for his architecture is unquestionably visible in this house. The exterior of the building is more impressive than its interior. The flat roof–terrace is shown through a metal structure meant to be converted into a pendant garden. The streamlined façade runs counter to the nearby dwellings in the neighborhood, characterized by a Sevillian and regionalist style. Undoubtedly, Sert’s aim to introduce a new architectural language in an extraneous environment led to an emphasis on the exterior, minimising the efforts to innovate in the building’s interiors.
Almost at the same time Puerta de la Carne market was being built in the San Bernardo district. Aurelio Gómez Millán and Gabriel Lupiañez Gely designed the winning proposal for the market, standing out among other, predominantly Regionalist, proposals. The project is characterised by a stepped cross section which allows the light to enter from every angle. The roof is the essential element of the project, covering a huge diaphanous space where all the activities used to take place. It’s a pity that the building has been in ruins since 1999. Numerous rehabilitation projects have been put forward since, but none of them to bring back the traditional market to its neighbourhood.
The next building is probably the best example of rationalist architecture in the city center. It’s extraordinary how the modern language of its façade coexists in harmony with an environment rich of historical landmarks. Located nearby Avenida de la Constitución, this residential building was designed by José Galnares Sagastizábal in 1936, just before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. The façade is a combination of pure volumes, where the horizontal strips of balconies meet with the vertical mesh of squares that give light to the staircase. The Bauhaus language is clearly identifiable through the round corners of the balconies.
These buildings doesn’t look today any special, but making its way through the architectural context of Seville of those years, is more or less like building the (infinitely loved/hated) Metropol Parasol nowadays.
Casa Duclós – Calle Cean Bermúdez, 5
Mercado Puerta de la Carne – Calle Demetrio de los Ríos, 11
Casa Ybarra: Calle Adolfo Rodríguez Jurado, 6