Architecture for a Recovered Democracy

by Manuel López Segura (MDes ’13)

This thesis deals with 1980s architecture in the Valencian Country, a region of Spain. It investigates how architectural production responded to a political agenda centered on the construction of democracy, the development of the welfare state, and the recovery of regional identity. The bonds between politics and architecture materialized through complicities associating architectural circles to a progressive program; through the emergence of new institutions with their novel role of public patronage; through specific architectural and urban interventions exploited with political aims; and through the civil confrontation around autochthonous culture.

Generally, the thesis enriches the existing historiographical tradition on social democratic models by pointing at the differences between the progressive projects of the post war periods and those of an analogous program in the 1980s. Finally, it is relevant in relation to regionalism as it shows how locally significant architecture, beyond relying on stylistic features or on architects’ sensitivity, may be the result of claims for political autonomy channeled through architectural artifacts.