León entre la tradición y la modernidad. La arquitectura de posguerra en la ciudad de León, 1937-1950

  1. Caballero Chica, Javier
Supervised by:
  1. Emilio Morais Vallejo Director
  2. Rodrigo Almonacid Canseco Director

Defence university: Universidad de León

Fecha de defensa: 15 December 2023

  1. Javier Pérez Gil Chair
  2. Joaquín García Nistal Secretary
  3. Alberto Ruiz Colmenar Committee member

Type: Thesis

Teseo: 829718 DIALNET


This thesis covers the study of architecture in the city of León from the elaboration of the Ensanche project in 1897 to 1950 to obtain a global vision of the first half of the 20th century, with the aim of evaluating the stylistic struggle that took place between tradition and modernity during the Civil War and the 1940s, as a priority research matter. During the first third of the 20th century, the importance of the new urban planning condition of the Ensanche was valued, as well as the various modifications made to it, to satisfy the constructive demands of the influential bourgeoisie of the moment. A slow occupation, especially on the main roads, resulted in a development adorned by a varied typological configuration that ranged from residential blocks, individual houses, sanitary, school, industrial, commercial, religious or public service architecture. The languages used during this period as antecedents of the traditional post-war architecture in León -modernism, eclecticism, historicism, regionalism and academicism-, make up a prominent epigraph of the study with the intention of summarizing and discerning the stylistic tastes of the Leonese bourgeoisie. The next step was taken by the first pro-rationalist works projected in the capital of Leon that took place during the 1920s by the architects Antonio Flórez Urdapilleta and Gustavo Fernández Balbuena, who left their pre-modern mark on works as significant as the Normal Teachers School or El Casino, respectively. The definitive entrance of modern architecture in León took place in the years before the Civil War, between 1930 and 1936, with the incorporation of the Central Telephone Station building (1931), designed by Ignacio de Cárdenas Pastor and José María de Vega Samper. , as well as the project of the School Group "Gumersindo Azcárate" (1934), the work of Guillermo Diz Flórez. But without a doubt, the true architects of the inclusion of modern trends in León were Ramón Cañas del Río and Juan Torbado Franco, who worked together from the beginning of the 1930s until 1945. The third architect who also promoted this rationalist and functional was Luis Aparicio Guisasola, all three with their eyes set on the European vanguard and the consequent modern architectural “revolution” as opposed to the nineteenth-century tradition. With the arrival of the postwar period, a certain sector of modern historiography considered the decade of the 40s as a regressive and barren period, with the supposed consolidation of the "State or Imperial" architecture, which the new Franco regime wanted to implement. However, the purpose of Leon's modernity remained in force through a certain continuity in the codification of a rationalist style and the neo-empiricist renewal. On the other hand, the bourgeois regressions stood out in facilitating and paving the way in the search for that alleged ideologized and propagandistic architecture through neo-baroque eclecticism. The investigations and the extensive collection of information in the different archives, resulted in that synchronous duality between tradition vs. modernity ―starred on many occasions by the same architects―, a confrontation that will repeatedly accompany the various chapters of the thesis. For this reason, in the second part of it, a case study has been carried out in both modalities with the purpose of comparing the two lines of action and being able to empirically specify the continuity of modern architecture during the years of the war and the 40s in the city of León, which favored the growth of this new language during the 50s.