'Export. Spanish Architecture Abroad' exhibition. Madrid.
February 24, 2015
Spanish architecture has indisputably attracted a great deal of international interest in recent decades, with many of our architects found among the most renowned architects in the world. This phenomenon is still very much in evidence, given that many Spanish studios continue to work on buildings abroad, and many Spanish architects are directors or lecturers in the most prestigious international schools. The phenomenon has been accentuated in recent years by the enforced internationalization of a sector especially affected by the deep and long-running economic crisis we are going through. But what is “Spanish architecture”? Is the non-specialist really aware of all it implies? If we did a survey in the street asking who is the most prestigious Spanish architect or which is the best known work of contemporary Spanish architecture, we would probably be surprised by the answers. This is what Edgar González, as curator of EXPORT. Spanish architecture abroad, believes to be the case, who from the moment he took up the challenge set by the Fundación ICO and the Museo ICO, was convinced that the focus of this exhibition should be as deep and wide-ranging as possible, and should not limit itself to a mere list of completed projects or buildings in construction. In addition to major building projects, EXPORT examines widely varied aspects of Spanish architecture abroad which include the work of our large textile and hotel multinationals, furniture, jewel and fashion design, teaching work, publishing periodicals, projects of cooperation, the more or less anonymous work of those who develop their career in large studios, and the efforts of those who have decided to open their own offices abroad. EXPORT, which covers a timeframe extending from the completion of the Yokohama Port and Ferry Terminal (2002) by Alejandro Zaera-Polo and Farshid Moussavi, and the new Rijksmuseum (2013), by Cruz y Ortiz, represents the culmination of research coordinated by Edgar González, and in spite of the complexity, offers an accessible overview of all these aspects. Visitors to the Museo ICO and readers of this catalogue will acquire a broad picture of the current state of an artistic and professional discipline that is also an important sector of the Spanish economy, essential to the construction of brand Spain. A project of this complexity would have been impossible without the collaboration of a wide range of professionals and institutions, who we would like to especially thank for their help and support. We hope that EXPORT. Spanish architecture abroad helps to promote a better understanding of the importance our architecture has acquired abroad while helping to identify new export opportunities and raising awareness of the importance of its recovery within our national borders.
Fundación ICO / Museo ICO