Arquitectura Viva
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Urbanism in Madrid

Javier Ruiz Sánchez

In 2004 Madrid City Hall published a guide to urban planning in 20th-century Madrid, coordinated by Ramón López de Lucio, that filled two voids. Prior to it, there had been no comprehensive compilation of the major landmarks of Madrid urbanism of the 1900s, nor any critical analysis that combined an academic with a professional viewpoint. The 2004 guide remedied these absences partly, providing us with a door for systematic access to the disperse knowledge on Madrid urbanism, but it is still unsatisfactory in many respects, from the way the book is bound to the overly schematic and short descriptions.

Madrid, 1900-2010. Guía de Urbanismo y Diseño Urbano. Urbanism & Urban Design Guide, rectifies these deficiencies. As to be expected from López de Lucio and his teams, they are even overcorrected. Its two volumes join the no less exhaustive Madrid 1979-1999. La transformación de la ciudad en 20 años de ayuntamientos democráticos, for which López de Lucio previously covered the period.

The first volume offers a critical account of the Spanish capital’s 20th-century urbanistic history; the second goes through a hundred interventions that have shaped Madrid, from the Gran Vía to Madrid-Río. Each operation is redrawn, accompanied by aerial photos and pictures of historical documents, often with original plans with sequences of images that trace the evolution of the places. This makes it easier for us to reconcile scales and thus break the traditional separation between planning and design.

Ramón López de Lucio et al.
Madrid, 1900-2010. Guía de Urbanismo y Diseño Urbano
Ayuntamiento de Madrid, 2016
668 pages

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