Ashes and Granite: Destruction and Reconstruction in the Spanish Civil War and Its Aftermath

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Apollo Books, 2011 - History - 223 pages
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Olivia Mu oz-Rojas critically examines the wartime destruction and post-war rebuilding of three prominent sites in Madrid, Bilbao and Barcelona in the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath. Each case highlights different dimensions of the material impact of the conflict, the practical challenges of reconstruction and the symbolic uses of the two processes by the winning side. The book reveals aspects of the Spanish Civil War and the evolution of the Franco regime from an original and fruitful angle as well as more general insights into the topic of wartime destruction and post-war reconstruction of cities. The title - Ashes and Granite - aims to capture, visually and texturally, on the one hand, the damage caused by the war and, on the other, the Franco regime’s concept of the ideal Hispanic construction material. ... Written from an interdisciplinary perspective at the intersection of urban and political history and theory, planning and architecture, the book draws largely on unpublished archival material. Key features of the Franco regime’s rebuilding programme are considered, such as the priority given to rural reconstruction and the persistent search for a national architectural style. The case of Madrid centres on the failure of the Falange’s ambitious plans for a neo-imperial capital as illustrative of the regime’s gradual shift from state planning to privately driven urban development. The case of Bilbao focuses on the reconstruction of the bridges of the city to demonstrate how, occasionally, the regime managed to turn destruction and reconstruction into opportunities for successfully marking the beginning of what was perceived as a new era in Spain’s history. Finally, the opening of Avenida de la Catedral in Barcelona exemplifies how wartime destruction sometimes facilitated the implementation of controversial planning, acting as a catalyst for urban redevelopment. Moreover, the opening of the avenue contributed to the disclosure of the ancient Roman city-wall, allowing the regime to appropriate the ancient legacy symbolically.
 

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Contents

The Spanish Civil War and its Aftermath from
14
From the Falanges Casa del Partido to
41
The Bridges of the New Spain
82
PreWar Plans on PostWar Ruins
119
History Discourse and the Built Environment
163
Notes
172
Bibliography
201
Archival material
209
Index
217
About the author
224
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Olivia Munoz-Rojas researches on cities, culture and society from an interdisciplinary perspective, and is particularly interested in the visual and aesthetic dimensions of social and political processes. Her current research focuses on the origins, transmission and interplay of city images, the legacies of war and totalitarianism in Europe, and the aesthetics of revolutionary movements. She holds a PhD from the London School of Economics, having studied at and researched for insitutions in Spain (Universidad Complutense, CSIC, UOC, ETSAM), Sweden (Uppsala, Lund), the United Kingdom (LSE, BURA, Urban Age) and the United States (New York University, Harvard University). She has published on the topic of urban destruction and reconstruction in the Journal of War and Culture Studies and the International Journal of Iberian Studies, among others; as well as in other fields, including suburban regeneration and comparative education. She also writes for non-academic media. Currently she lives in Paris, and this is her first single-authored book.

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