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The History of Spanish Architecture

The MCH (Master of Architecture in Collective Housing) allows you to become an Architecture Master in Europe. The UPM (Universidad Politécnica of Madrid) and ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) is offering a postgraduate program in advanced architecture design in cities and housing. The full-time international program is rated as one of the best architecture master programs by architects and experts alike, focused on committing to the highest level of excellence.

Spanish Architecture Overview

Spain is renowned for both its architects and its architecture. It’s recorded as the second highest country with the most buildings on its list, surpassed only by Italy. Arguably the most famous and unusual Spanish architect of the early 20th Century is Antoni Gaudí. He has created a unique style through an eclectic approach, reminiscent of the Mudéjar (an architectural style blending Christian and Muslim design). His most famous building is believed to be the unfinished Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family.

Spain’s Prehistoric Architecture

Some of the first settlers in Spain, dating back to 4000BC, built burial chambers made of stone. The largest of these burial chambers can be found close to the city of Antequera, near Málaga. One such example is the Cueva de Menga. Villages called Castros were built on mountains in regions like Galicia. Today, Galicia has many examples of Celtic settlements.

Spain’s Roman Architecture

When the Romans conquered Spain, they brought with them their fantastic expertise in civil engineering. They went on to build a network of roads, linking many of Spain’s major cities. Many aqueducts and bridges were also built in Spain, along with some useful buildings like the La Coruña lighthouse, which is still being utilized today.

Spain’s Pre-Romanesque Architecture

The Pre-Romanesque period refers to the Christian art produced after the Classical Age, and before the Romanesque art period. The most renowned of which is Asturian art. It was a period of structural and design element innovation. Lattices and arches became more common in buildings, and a heavy Mozarabic influence in Asturias was seen later, which saw the horseshoe-shaped arch increase in use.

Spain’s Mudejar Style Architecture

Mudejar architecture is an architectural style developed by the Moors. Evidence of their designs was left in Christian Spain, even though they never converted to Christianity. The Mudejar architecture was used between the 12th and 16th Centuries, with Spanish architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner reviving it during the 20th Century. Mudejar is known for its extensive use of brick as the primary building material. Examples of Mudejar architecture can be seen in the synagogues of Santa María la Blanca.

Spain’s Romanesque Architecture

The tenth and eleventh centuries were the time when Romanesque Spanish architecture flourished in Spain. The architecture was quite basic at the time, with thick walls were and limited use of sculptures. An iconic building showing Spains Romanesque architecture is the Cathedral of Jaca in Aragon. It contains the typical ‘taqueado jaqués’ (a chessboard styled decoration).

Spain’s Gothic Architecture

Gothic architecture was first seen during the twelfth Century, alternating with the earlier Romanesque period. The height of the Gothic style came through during the 13th Century. It is seen in the Cathedrals of Toledo, Burgos, and Leon, showing a strong influence from Italy and Germany.

Spain’s 21st Century Architecture

Fast-forward through the Renaissance, Baroque, Colonial, Neoclassical, and 19th Century Architecture, we saw the rise of Catalan Modernism during the 20th and 21st Centuries. With the likes of Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner beautifying the city with quaint buildings, budding Spanish architects have passed into the realms of modern architecture.