As the architectural and engineering world of the early 20th century explored new and fascinating materials and created structural marvels throughout the world, Spain chose instead to focus largely on creating a national style which would evoke the power they had so recently lost. To do this, Spanish design looked back to the works of Roman, Muslim, and Imperial Spain, resurrecting their forms and decoration, more for their aesthetics than for their practical application.
During this time, Eduardo Torroja, an engineer by trade, began to experiment with reinforced concrete in both the common Historicist style as well as the budding Rationalist style. His work introduced Spanish architects and engineers to not only a new material, but a new way of designing buildings.
Previously, most focus on Torroja’s work has been on his advancements in Rationalist architecture. By examining first-hand accounts by Torroja, critical reviews by his peers and later commentators, and original drawings of his creations, this paper will look at his early Historicist usage of reinforced concrete. This paper intends to show how this initial use as a replacement material inspired Torroja’s future work and influenced his contemporaries to consider reinforced concrete as a primary material, contributing to the eventual progression of Spanish Rationalism.
Dr. Brett Tippey
During the early 20th century, Spanish architecture largely ignored global technological and stylistic advancements in favor of creating a national style. They looked back to past works, mostly for their aesthetics. However, engineer Eduardo Torroja began to experiment with reinforced concrete in both the common Historicist style and the budding Rationalist style. His work introduced Spain to a new way of designing buildings.
Previous focus on Torroja’s work has been on his advancements in Rationalism. By examining Torroja’s writings, critical reviews of his work, and his original drawings, this paper will look at his early usage of reinforced concrete. This paper will show how this new material and influenced Torroja and his contemporaries to reconsider reinforced concrete as a primary material.