The Journey of Modernism

Modernism, a global artistic and philosophical movement that reached its zenith in the early 20th century, left an indelible mark on the history of Andalucía. A key principle of Modernism is the belief that artists should have the freedom to explore new techniques and materials, unencumbered by tradition. This focus on innovation sparked a wave of experimentation in Andalusia, as artists began to delve into Cubism, Surrealism, and other avant-garde styles. These movements had a profound impact on both the art world and society at large, playing a pivotal role in shaping the Andalusian identity. Today, the influence of Modernism is still palpable in Andalusia, with many of its buildings and landmarks bearing the hallmarks of this transformative era.

Modernism's Influence on Andalusian Architecture

The modernist architecture in Andalusia is a melting pot of international influences. It bears the unmistakable traces of French Art Nouveau, the architectural essentialism of Victor Horta, and the restrained beauty of the Viennese Secession. These influences are particularly evident in the exquisite interior decorations of the small shops that were completed at the turn of the century. The close relationship between modernist architecture and the bourgeoisie resulted in a body of work that is predominantly domestic or commercial in nature.

The Legacy of Modernism

The legacy of Modernism continues to resonate in Andalusia today. The region's modernist buildings, with their innovative designs and use of new materials, stand as a testament to a time of great artistic and philosophical upheaval. They serve as a reminder of the power of art and architecture to reflect and shape societal values, and of the enduring influence of the Modernist movement on the Andalusian identity.

Recommended places to visit

Centre Pompidou Málaga

The image above showcases the Centre Pompidou in Malaga, a branch of the renowned Parisian museum. This cultural hub is a treasure trove of works from modernist and post-modernist artists, offering a glimpse into the creative minds that shaped these revolutionary movements.

Atarazanas Market: A Modernist Jewel with a Nasrid Touch

The Atarazanas Market in Malaga is a striking blend of architectural styles and influences. Its origins can be traced back to a 14th-century shipyard, when Malaga was under the rule of the Nasrid kingdom. The magnificent horseshoe arch at the main entrance is a testament to this period and was meticulously restored in 1977.

The remainder of the building was constructed in the late 19th century, under the guidance of municipal architect Joaquín Rucoba. Rucoba, who also designed other iconic structures in Malaga such as La Malagueta bullring and La Alameda park, embraced the modernist style that was sweeping across Europe at the time, particularly in Barcelona. He utilised iron as the primary material for the structure and roof, resulting in a spacious and light-filled interior.

One of the market's most striking features is the stained glass window that adorns one of its walls. Crafted by local artist Manuel Muñoz Barberán, who also painted murals inside the market, the window depicts various aspects of Malaga's history, culture, and landscape, including its cathedral, port, and mountains.

But the Atarazanas Market is more than just an architectural marvel. It's also a gastronomic haven, offering fresh produce from local farmers and fishermen, as well as a variety of meats, cheeses, spices, and more. Visitors can also indulge in delicious tapas at the various bars located both inside and outside the market.

The Atarazanas Market is open from Monday to Saturday, from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. It is conveniently located on Calle Atarazanas, close to Plaza de la Constitución and Larios Street.

More places to visit
  • The Equitativa Building, situated at the junction of Larios Street and Alameda Principal, is a testament to the architectural prowess of Eduardo Strachan and Manuel Rivera Vera. Constructed between 1920 and 1922, the building boasts a cream-coloured facade adorned with lion heads, snakes, and a statue of Hermes, symbolising commerce and banking. You can find its location on the map here:
  • The Consul's House, located on Paseo de Sancha, was built between 1910 and 1911 by architect Fernando Guerrero Strachan. The facade features floral and geometric elements that echo the French Art Nouveau and the Viennese Secession. The tower, with its glazed viewpoint, is a standout feature. You can find its location on the map here:
  • The Cervantes Theatre in Malaga, built between 1869 and 1870 by architect Jerónimo Cuervo González, is a fine example of neoclassical style with a touch of modernism. Notable features include the ironwork on the balconies and the stained glass windows.

These are just a few examples of the modernist architecture that can be found in Malaga. There are many more architectural gems waiting to be discovered should you decide to visit this vibrant city.

Modernist Architecture in Andalucia

The most abundant examples of Modernism can be found in cities and towns along the coast. The innovative composition of this style resonated with the emerging ideas about bathing and hygiene, to the extent that Andalusia is often associated with the 'balneario', or bathhouse, style. This trend is evident in Almería, Malaga, and Huelva, which boast fascinating buildings such as the Plaza of Puerta Purchena, the Andalusian Railroad Offices on Paseo Reding, and Dr. Sanz Frutos' clinic. However, the province of Cadiz has a more pronounced urban presence, with notable structures such as the Mayol home at 34, San Jose Street.

The inland areas of the province, particularly the cities of Cordoba and Seville, are home to some of the more venerable buildings. In Cordoba, one can visit the house of Alvarez Cid, which now houses the Association of Architects. In Seville, the homes built by Aníbal González on Alfonso XII Street, and Luis Montoro Street, as well as the Municipal Laboratory by A. Arévalo Martínez, are great examples of the strong Catalonian influence. An interesting visit that contemplates the approximation of Andalusian modernism is the Huescar School of Arts and Occupations in the province of Granada.

Plaza de España in Seville

  • The Plaza de España in Seville is a notable example of regionalist architecture. Built between 1928 and 1931 by architect Aníbal González Álvarez-Ossorio for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, it combines elements from different historical periods such as Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Moorish.

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