Designing America. Spain’s Imprint in the U.S.
This exhibition shows the decisive contribution made by Spain to the building and layout of the land, landscape and cities of the United States, from its first settlements to the present day.
‘Designing America: Spain’s Imprint in the U.S.’ shows Spain’s decisive contribution to the building and layout of the U.S. land, landscape and cities from its first settlements to the present day, in a journey through the historical, political and cultural events that more than 500 years of shared history have left a visible mark on the United States.
I have always felt that one of the great lacks among Americans (…) has been their knowledge of the whole Spanish influence and exploration and development (…), which is a tremendous story. Unfortunately, too many Americans think that America was discovered in 1620 when the Pilgrims came to my own State, and they forget the tremendous adventure of the 16th century and the early 17th century in the Southern and Southwest United States.” John F. Kennedy, 35º presidente de Estados Unidos.
Following an open, cross-cutting path through architecture and urban and territorial planning, the exhibition is made up of four thematic, nonchronological sections –“The image of America”, “Construction the territory”, “Cities: the Spanish urban space” and “Constructed works: Architecture and Engineering”– offering a fluid dialogue between past and present through 70 original works from the holdings of the National Library of Spain, the General Military Archives and the Archives of the Naval Museum of Spain. These valuable historical documents, together with the texts, images and audiovisual elements that accompany them, enable visitors to discover a living, constantly renewing heritage, and to become familiar with, for example, the 40 years of Spanish influence in New Orleans, the construction empire built coast to coast in the United States by Valencian architect Rafael Guastavino, and the founding on Spanish soil in America of the first town of freed African slaves, among other features.
With this groundbreaking approach regarding the Spanish presence in North America, the Fundación Consejo España – EE.UU. joins in the celebration of the important dates celebrated from 2013 to 2015, including the Quincentennial of the Discovery of Florida by Ponce de León, the Quincentennial of the Discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Núñez de Balboa, and the 450th Anniversary of the Founding of the City of St. Augustine, Florida, by Menéndez de Avilés.
‘Designing America’ was organized by the Fundación in collaboration with the National Library of Spain and curated by Juan Miguel Hernández León, Director of the Cultural Landscape Research Group of the Universidad Politécnica of Madrid, with special support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Acciona, Ferrovial, Fundación Abertis, Fundación ACS, Fundación Repsol, Hewlett Packard, Obra Social «la Caixa», OHL and Técnicas Reunidas.
This exhibition, the catalogue of which received the prize for Dissemination/Exhibitions at the XIII Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urban Planning, is the Fundación’s most longstanding and most impactful exposition in recent years, totaling over 100 000 visitors.
Visit the exhibition’s official webpage: www.designing-america.com
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