Above: the Last Interview with Spanish Architect
Miguel Fisac, Spain’s Beloved Modern Architect
Miguel Fisac (Born Daimiel 1913 – Died Madrid 2006), was the quintessential modern architect in Spain. His work takes place during the second half of the twentieth century. Señor Fisac had more than 60 years of in the art and and architecture professions. As the most prolific Spanish architect, he constructed over 350 building projects. The Spanish city of Daimiel, an ancient spot in Castile-La Mancha formerly known as La Villa de Daimiel, is proud to be home to three representative works of his long career: Instituto Laboral (Labour Institute), the Market Building and Housing Parterre.
Miguel Fisac invented an unique style of sculpting a flexible structural concrete, having developed and patented the innovative plastic-like cement itself. Some of the buildings designed by Fisac display a quilted pattern made of his proprietary and innovative concrete.
Former Labour Institute. Current Water Interpretation Centre (1951-54)
This is one of the most representative buildings of Spanish architecture from the nineteen-fifties.
It has been defined as “the first modern building” because it represents a real break with the classical architecture that was being done in the ‘forties in Spain. Miguel Fisac had the idea to build one of the first business schools in Spain, using modern technology. Fisac designed the business school with reference to the plastic values of the architecture of La Mancha that can be seen in some of its basic elements, including the anarchic arrangement of holes, rounded corners, and external textures generated by successive layers of lime.
In this building Señor Fisac contributed all the interior design elements such as furniture, a unique lighting system in the auditorium, and interesting murals that he painted in each classroom.
Food Market (1955-1960)
It is the second major work by Fisac in his birthplace Daimiel, defined as a large complex devoted to the merging of folk architecture and functionality.
The exterior is executed in the typical style of La Mancha, with and thick whitewashed stone walls inspired by the ancient “Quinteria Mancha,” with a somewhat chaotic distribution of windows.
Functionalism is defined in the interior of this structure by the utilisation of large concrete pillars. At the entrance of the building there is a ceramic mural by Francisco Farreras.
In 2006, a remodelling of the building was completed. This last Fisac project involved adaptation of the market to new uses. On the top floor of the building there are ever-changing, temporary exhibitions in tribute to Señor Fisac, the artistic and creative architect.
Parterre Apartment Building (1978-82)
On the site in Daimiel, Spain where a pharmacy was owned by his father Joaquin Fisac, now sits a modern residential building where Miguel Fisac employed his famous patent, known as flexible concrete. This is a concrete form-work process that gives an appearance of sagging walls, which is reminiscent of the original slurry aspect that his proprietary concrete has before use. The quilted look of the façade is achieved by application of this technique, a prime example of it being fulfilled in the last stage of this quintessential work by Miguel Fisac, the building’s balcony.
Young Miguel Fisac began studying architecture in 1930 at Madrid’s Universidad Central. He studied watercolor (wash), statuary and mechanics.
Señor Fisac travelled the world. He was especially impressed the Japanese traditional style of architecture and landscaping. Fisac also became fond of the Nordic architectural idiom. He admired the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, and was a friend of Los Angeles architect Richard Neutra.
In 1954, Miguel Fisac received the Gold Medal at the Exhibition of Religious Art in Vienna, for the church of “Arcas Reales” in Valladolid. His work began to be known abroad.
In 1955, Mr. Fisac designed the Teologado San Pedro Mártir for the Dominicans Friars in Alcobendas, Madrid.
Spain’s great modern architect Miguel Fisac passed away at his Madrid home in 2006, not long after the interview presented at the beginning of this article.
©M-J de Mesterton 2011