"Designing America: Spain´s Imprint in the U.S." in MADRID

07/04/2014 to 10/12/2014

In partnership with the Biblioteca Nacional de España, the Fundación Consejo España-Estados Unidos has organised the exhibition Designing America: Spain´s imprint in the U.S., which puts on display the important contributions Spain has made to the construction of the United States territory, landscape and cities, starting with the first settlements through to the present day. Curated by Juan Miguel Hernandez León, the Cultural Landscape Research Group (GIPC) at Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (ETSAM) of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), the exhibition aims to present a novel and distinct perspective on the Spanish presence in the United States.

The exhibition Designing America: Spain´s imprint in the U.S. brings together, under the same looking glass, Spain’s ample contribution to the construction of the United States territory, landscape and cities, presenting this as a living legacy under constant renovation. This is, therefore, a fluid dialogue between past and present illustrated by more than 70 original works from the collections of the National Library of Spain, the Spanish General Military Archive and the Archives of the Spanish Naval Museum.

The Fundación Consejo España-Estados Unidos is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the relationship between Spain and the United States through civil society. Through this novel approach to the common history shared by both countries, the foundation joins the celebrations taking place between 2013 and 2015 to commemorate key events associated with this bilateral relation. The commemorative celebrations in this two-year period include the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida by Ponce de León, the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Núñez de Balboa, the 300th anniversary of the birth of California’s founder, Father Junípero Serra; and the 450th anniversary of the foundation of the first city in the United States -St. Augustine, Florida-, by Menéndez de Avilés.

Through the dialogue between these historic documents and the combined narration of texts, images and audio-visual elements, visitors to the exhibition are enlightened to the historical, political and cultural events that have marked the course of 500 years of common history between the United States and Spain — a footprint that is still visible on North American soil. Fragmented stories, such as the 40 years of Spanish influence in New Orleans or the business success Rafael Guastavino built from coast to coast in the United States, share a space with the history of how Spain sketched out the New World or how the first settlement of freed slaves was built on Spanish soil.

The exhibition is designed as an open cross-sectional tour through architecture, urban planning and the territory itself. This triad also marks how the exhibition is organised, which traces the influence that the Spaniards left behind and that remains on the other side of the Atlantic. Emblematic cities like New York City, San Francisco and New Orleans preserve an undeniable and curious Spanish presence in their twenty-first century structure, culture and heritage. This is just one of the many facts waiting to be discovered at the exhibition Designing America: Spain´s imprint in the U.S.

Visit the web page of the exhibition

Thanks to the sponsorship of:
Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y Cooperación, Acciona, Ferrovial, Fundación Abertis, Fundación ACS, Fundación Repsol, Hewlett Packard, Obra Social "la Caixa", OHL and Técnicas Reunidas.