L'arquitectura escolar de Guillem Forteza 1917-1943

Information about the Thesis

  • Author: Mayol Amengual, Jaume
  • Date: 2010
  • Director: Quetglas, Pep
  • University: Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña
  • School or Faculty: ETSA del Vallés
  • Department: Departamento de Proyectos arquitectónicos
  • Source: TDR, Tesis Doctorales en Red


The thesis starts with a specific question: How does the modern movement arrive to Mallorca? In the early twentieth century, the number of architects from Mallorca is very small. Chronologically we can discern two groups: The first one is constituted by architects who get their qualification between 1899 and 1906. Nearly all of them graduate at the school of Madrid. They move between the eclecticism of the beginning of the century and the incipient modernism. They are: G. Bennàzar, J. Aleñà, J. Alomar,G. Reynés and F. Roca. The second group graduates from 1919, most of them at the school of Barcelona. They are students which have been educated in the postwar period, and who have already heard about the rationalist architecture that is practiced all over Europe. They start their practice in the 1920’s and, therefore, they are closer, to the modern architectures. They are: C. Garau, J. Olesa, E. Juncosa, F. Casas, G. Muntaner, G. Alomar and A. Roca. There is a hiatus of thirteen years between both groups. A huge chronological gap, where the only graduated Majorcan architect is Guillem Forteza Pinya. Forteza studies at the school of Barcelona and finishes his university education at the end of 1917. His condition of hinge architect helps us to understand the process of transformation that suffers the Majorcan architecture between the 20’s and the 30’s of the last century. Guillem Forteza has a chronologically particular and delimited life. He was born in 1892, he graduates in 1917 and died in 1943. His professional life is condensed in a quarter of century, which coincides with the most intense period of recent history of the architecture. Of all his polyhedral professional biography highlights a fact: in 1921 he is appointed Directive Architect of School Constructions of the State in Balears. This position gives rise to a more than one hundred of school projects between 1921 and 1940. These projects are analyzed one by one, to understand, from inside, the projectuals mechanisms of each proposal. We can distinguish two models: First, we find traditional, regional schools. They are designed with symmetrical floor, compact volumetry and centripetal organization. The classrooms are organized around a courtyard, wich is understood as an additional classroom outdoors. This courtyard inherited the local architectural tradition and was the solution to pedagogic and hygienic issues. Second, in Forteza Works we can distinguish the school groups clearly tied to the modern movement. They are drawed with asymmetrical floor, disperse volumetry and centrifugal organization. The flat roof is imposed to the traditional tile roof. The plan prevails over the relief. The big vitreous areas are imposed to the small windows. Any type of decorative element is canceled. The asymmetry, the visions in foreshortening and the game of volumes are setted. Once all the school projects of Forteza are analyzed and studied, the thesis moves chronologically until the third and fourth decade of the 20th century. The thesis does not resign itself on understanding the thought of Forteza, but it looks for itself. It does not observe passively from the distance but it enters into the 17 of Sant Bartomeu street in Palma and, from there, it discovers the personal and intimate conditions in which the architecture of Forteza is produced. The thesis understands that these conditions are closely related to his professional results. The thesis, through different articles, complete in themselves and related to each other, articulates the attained knowledge. It emphasizes the task of the collaborators of Forteza. It demonstrates the origin of his architecture. It points out some personal conditions of the architect, for instance his illness or his journeys. It emphasizes a new character and demonstrates his authorship in many of the projects appeared from 1931. The thesis fixes its eyes on another person, intimately related to the European environment. The thesis demonstrates the way in which modern architecture poured into the studio of Guillem Forteza. The thesis gives an answer (there are probably others), exact and accurate, to the question we originally asked.

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