Spanish Architect Miguel Fisac 1913-2006





Above: the Last Interview with Spanish Architect
 and Painter Miguel Fisac



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.

Instituto Laboral
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.
Mercado Abastos

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.

Edificio Parterre

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

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>Esparto

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Photo of Esparto in Portugal by Carsten Niehaus

Esparto and Its Uses
Esparto, also known as “halfah (or alfa) grass” or “needle grass,” macrochloa tenacissima and stipa tenacissima, is a bunching grass that grows in northwest Africa, Portugal, and most notably in Spain.
Esparto has a very durable consistency, thus it has traditionally been used for making rope, cords, baskets, espadrilles, and even women’s undergarments.
Esparto is also used for fibre-production in making paper. The fibres of esparto contribute to a high-quality paper often used in book manufacturing. First used in Great Britain in 1850, it has been extensively used there and in Europe, but is rarely used in the United States because of the high cost of transporting it. Esparto combined with five-to-ten percent wood pulp for paper-making.
The “Spanish” grade of esparto is usually regarded as the higher-quality, while  “Tripoli” esparto from northern Africa is considered  lesser in quality. The fibres are fairly short in relation to their width, yet do not create any significant amount of dust. Because of the short fibre length, the tensile strength of the paper made with esparto is less than that of many other papers, but its resistance to shrinkage and stretching is superior, thus it is an attractive, dense paper with excellent inking qualities. Paper made with esparto also folds very well.

Lygeum spartum, another species of grass, is often woven together with true esparto, and is incorrectly  labelled with the colloquialism “esparto grass,” but  is also known as “albardine.”
The Villa de Daimiel, an ancient municipality in Ciudad Reál (Royal City) of La Mancha, an area also known for its viniculture, has produced esparto for  many kinds of crafts, textiles and garments since the middle ages. 
~~M-J de M.

Esparto

Photo of Esparto in Portugal by Carsten Niehaus

Esparto and Its Uses
Esparto, also known as “halfah (or alfa) grass” or “needle grass,” macrochloa tenacissima and stipa tenacissima, is a bunching grass that grows in northwest Africa, Portugal, and most notably in Spain.
Esparto has a very durable consistency, thus it has traditionally been used for making rope, cords, baskets, espadrilles, and even women’s undergarments.
Esparto is also used for fibre-production in making paper. The fibres of esparto contribute to a high-quality paper often used in book manufacturing. First used in Great Britain in 1850, it has been extensively used there and in Europe, but is rarely used in the United States because of the high cost of transporting it. Esparto combined with five-to-ten percent wood pulp for paper-making.
The “Spanish” grade of esparto is usually regarded as the higher-quality, while  “Tripoli” esparto from northern Africa is considered  lesser in quality. The fibres are fairly short in relation to their width, yet do not create any significant amount of dust. Because of the short fibre length, the tensile strength of the paper made with esparto is less than that of many other papers, but its resistance to shrinkage and stretching is superior, thus it is an attractive, dense paper with excellent inking qualities. Paper made with esparto also folds very well.

Lygeum spartum, another species of grass, is often woven together with true esparto, and is incorrectly  labelled with the colloquialism “esparto grass,” but  is also known as “albardine.”
The Villa de Daimiel, an ancient municipality in Ciudad Reál (Royal City) of La Mancha, an area also known for its viniculture, has produced esparto for  many kinds of crafts, textiles and garments since the middle ages. 
~~M-J de M.