10 Outstanding Contemporary Spanish Offices
Spanish cities are clear examples of the overlapping of historical periods. Medieval urban layouts coexist with modernist urban plans, and their buildings show traces of Roman, Arab, Gothic, and Romanesque architecture. Moreover, in the era of Maritime Expansion, Spanish architecture was exported from the Iberian Peninsula to much of the world, especially the Americas. It is also difficult to speak of Spanish architecture without mentioning the Catalan genius Antoni Gaudí, whose distinctive style remains unparalleled in architectural history – inspiring and unsettling, without fitting into any particular single stylistic movement. In recent decades, Spanish architects have remained highly respected throughout the world. From the complex structures of Calatrava and the virtuosity of Enric Miralles, to the respect for context of Rafael Moneo. There are many others that should be noted, such as Ricardo Bofill, Alberto Campo Baeza, and the recent Pritzker winners, RCR Arquitectes.
Below, we have made a brief selection of contemporary Spanish architects and offices. The selection considers the particularities of their projects, materials applied, youthfulness and innovation, and influence, highlighting the legacy of the country worldwide.
Founded in 1981 by Enric Batlle and Joan Roig and based in Barcelona, Battleiroig is a multidisciplinary firm that combines the practices of planning, landscape design and architecture. The firm is divided into three highly specialized work groups: construction, landscape design, and planning, which in turn form a flexible, dynamic, and cohesive whole. This is reflected in the firm’s portfolio of wide-ranging projects.
Focusing on cultural, civic, and educational buildings, the firm, founded by Fabrizio Barozzi and Alberto Veiga in 2004, has been widely exhibited and published in specialized press, while also having received major awards. Its projects are spread across countries such as Switzerland, England, Germany, China, among many others, and are impressive for their attention to detail, with volumetries both intimate and monumental.
HARQUITECTES is an architecture studio founded in 2000 and based in Sabadell, Barcelona, run by four partner architects: David Lorente Ibáñez, Josep Ricart Ulldemolins, Xavier Ros Majó and Roger Tudó Galí. Their work explores pre-existences and historical characteristics very well, creating elegant resolutions with construction techniques and mundane materials such as brick, concrete and steel.
Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation
Office for Political Innovation (Offpolinn) is an international architecture practice, based in New York and Madrid, working at the intersection of design, research, and critical environmental practices. It develops projects that bridge scales and mediums, aimed at bringing inclusion to the built environment. Andrés Jaque, founder, is a Spanish architect who explores the role of architecture in building societies through his work, which has been exhibited in biennials and museums around the world.
The Barcelona-based office, founded in 2007, work with buildings, urban planning, ephemeral installations and cultural projects, both in the public and private spheres. Their projects stand out for their attention to energy efficiency and intelligent use of natural materials and natural light.
Amann Canovas Maruri
Formed by partners Atxu Amann, Andrés Cánovas and Nicolás Maruri Associate in 1987, Amann Cánovas Maruri office is based in Madrid. Composed of researchers and professors at Etsam (Madrid School of Architecture), the office focuses on research for new types of housing units and reconfiguration of housing blocks according to contemporary public space and urban issues. In addition to housing projects, the firm has designed cultural buildings and the Spanish Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020.
Estudio Herreros is a truly global firm, with offices in Madrid, New York, and Mexico City, employing some 20 architects of different nationalities. The firm is the consolidation of the 30-year career of Juan Herreros, a professor at the Madrid School of Architecture and Columbia University in New York. The projects range from small-scale projects to internationally commissioned structures and building competitions, making the architect one of the most influential Spanish architects practicing today. His vast portfolio of projects highlights the innovative use of prefabrication, with efficient structures and facades that both integrate into and stand out in their respective contexts.
un parell d’arquitectes
Unparelld’arquitectes is an architectural firm led by Eduard Callís and Guillem Moliner based in Olot that works at various scales, from “infrastructure to decoration, between the domestic sphere and the public space, between the city and the garden.” Their work respects local materials and construction techniques, while bringing an element of innovation and a fun and unusual touch, promoting new relationships and sensations.
Based in Madrid and founded in 1998 by José Selgas and Lucía Cano, SelgasCano’s work is based on the study of construction processes, especially the use of synthetic materials and new technologies. Their work is particularly renowned for its use of polychromy, the creative exploration of new materials, and the relationship between architecture and the surrounding landscape. Responsible for the 2015 Serpentine Pavilion, the office has projects for corporate, public and cultural spaces.
XPIRAL innovative answers
As the name implies, the office is focused on finding appropriate solutions supported by new technologies and multimedia resources, in addition to architecture, urban planning and design. Founded by Javier Peña Galiano in 1997, the office’s pluralized work focuses on residences and public spaces, with experiments in their projects and in the materiality of its works.
As well as the work of Spanish architects past and present, Spanish construction companies are also renowned worldwide for its wide range of solutions. ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones is a national trade entity of national scope that aims to promote the internationalization of Spanish companies and the promotion of foreign investment.