ESTEBAN-MALUENDA, Ana; GIL DONOSO, Eva; TEJERO, Elena – ‘Sesiones de Crítica de Arquitectura’. The change in architectural debate in the Spain of the 1960s in REVISITING POST-CIAM GENERATION. Debates, proposals and intellectual framework. Porto: CEAA/ESAP-CESAP, 2019, p. 103-119.
The journal Arquitectura was reissued in January 1959 as a mouthpiece of the Madrid Institute of Architects (COAM). This brought to an end the period of the Revista Nacional de Arquitectura, the journal which replaced it after the Civil War under the control of the Franco regime. Curiously, moving from one journal to another did not involve many changes in how it was managed, and it would remain for over a decade in the hands of Carlos de Miguel, its director since the late forties. Despite this ‘apparent’ continuity, the independence achieved from government bodies brought about important changes in focus, mechanisms, and strategies of dissemination and architectural criticism. This paper aims to consider this shift in thinking, topics, and agents by reviewing the ‘Sesiones de Crítica de Arquitectura’ (SCAs, Architecture Critic Sessions). These were regular meetings organized by Carlos de Miguel in which there were interactive debates about an issue, previously introduced by a speaker. The sessions started in 1951 and were held regularly all through the fifties. However, they were interrupted in the early sixties and later reorganized, but this time with significant differences with regard to the former period. The SCAs in the sixties were less frequent and included guest speakers with special expertise in the fields of design and social sciences. Urban conditions began to attract greater attention and, overall, disagreements and differences of approach and interests between the two generations who attended the meetings became evident: the older architects, who started the sessions as a discussion forum about tradition and modernity, and the younger ones, who called into question rational values of modernism defended by their masters and went for pursuing new perspectives in the development of architectural culture.