|THE CITY OF SANTANDER THROUGH ITS MONUMENTS AND HISTORY||Ancient
and Medieval Periods
Picturesqueness and Regionalism
From Rationalism to Present-Day
|The Twentieth Century: from Rationalism to Present-Day Architecture.|
|Siboney building||Breaking off
this backward gaze to the past, Rationalism reached Spain
in 1925. Rationalism rejected the classical and
regionalist traditions in its longing for a renovation of
form that would solve current problems: urban
agglomeration, the pursuit of comfort, population growth.
More than a new style it was a new conception of
architecture: seeing its task as a practical issue and
building adequate low-cost housing. Lower ceilings,
unadorned straight-lined buildings were its features, the
structure itself of the building serving as its ornament.
Thus, along the waterfront and in the ensanche there
appeared rationalist buildings, showing that Santander
adhered to this trend; the Marítimo Club, the Siboney building and the Ateneo Popular are
good examples of Cantabrian rationalism.
Architecture after the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) shows the confluence of a rationalist legacy and the traditionalist discourse of official postwar architecture. The reconstruction of Santander after the 1941 fire gave rise to clear examples of the nationalistic classicism that resulted. Postwar Spain's architectural theory is manifest in the church of St Francis (1940) by Javier González Riancho. This building carried a considerable ideological charge, as its original had been knocked down quite in the middle of the Civil War -so its re-instatement signified a redressing of the balance. It is, as it only could be, a Herreresque project, symbolising things Spanish, Catholicism, and Empire.
Since the 1950's the crisis of historicism grew apace, and a partial opening-up to international trends developed. In the 1970's Santander was integrated fully into the diverse international scene. As a final step on this tour of the architecture of Santander, one might remark on the Festival Palacedesigned by Javier Sainz de Oíza (project date: 1984). As a prime example of postmodernism, it makes free and ironic use of the symbols of the history of architecture.