1913 Miguel Fisac Serna was born in Daimiel (Ciudad Real) on 29th September 1913, the son of Joaquín Fisac, a pharmacist, and Amparo Serna, housewife. He started his education at the Colegio Público of Daimiel and studied secondary education in the Instituto Nacional of Badajoz. He was particularly interested in the Natural History courses imparted by Mr Manuel Vicente Lobo.
1930 He moved to Madrid to study architecture at the Universidad Central. He started his drawing practical classes at the López Izquierdo Academy, located on the tenth floor of the Palacio de la Prensa building. On the first examination he failed wash and statuary, in September he passed wash.
1932 In June he passed statuary at the School on Los Estudios Street.
1933 He started the complementary course, his favourite subject was mechanics.
1934 He passed the complementary course that year, along with only nine other students. A class composed of: Cabrero, Fisac, Rebollo, Peña, Rodríguez-Losada, Garrido-Serrano, Bastarreche, Fernández del Amo, Carbonell and Alustiza.
1935 He continued his studies in Los Estudios Street. Just before the end of the course the School on the University campus was inaugurated.
1936 At the beginning of the Civil War he was in Daimiel. The same year he became part of the Catholic congregation Opus Dei.
1939 After the Civil War, he went back to the School in Los Estudios Street.
1940 He started his collaborations with the architect Ricardo Fernández-Vallespín.
His first works were a Tuscan door and the Assembly hall at 4 Medinaceli Street, headquarters of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas.
1941 While he was still a student, he collaborated in the design and management of the work for the Instituto Torres Quevedo, in Serrano Street. After a drawing exhibition, he started to work as a perspectivist along with Cabrero and Aburto at Muguruza’s official studio, designing the reconstruction of Santander.
1942 He graduated as an Architect at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid. He was also awarded with the End of Studies prize of the Royal Academy of San Fernando. As soon as he finished his studies, he received the commission to design a preliminary plan to transform the old assembly hall at the Colina de los Chopos, designed by Arniches and Domínguez -, into a church. The Church of the Holy Spirit received great praise from the critics.
1943 He received the commission for the Central Headquarters of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas in collaboration with Fernández Vallespín at the Colina de los Chopos.
1944 He worked for the Consejo, under the tutelage of an official from the Ministry of Education, Mr. Ibáñez-Martín. His doubts about the architecture designed in Spain were becoming very evident.
1948 He designed the Instituto Nacional de Óptica “Daza de Valdés”, in which he introduced functionality for the first time as an essential component in the conception of the building, apart from a clear distancing from the classical style that had been the starting point of his previous architecture.
1949 He travelled to Basel, Paris, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, due to a commission for the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas Cajal, in the company of José A. Balcells, which allowed him to make contact with rationalist architecture. On this trip he visited the works of the Sweden architect Erik Gunnar Asplund and he felt especially attracted by the enlargement of Gothenburg City Hall; he discovered through them a way of making modern architecture for the men of our time and with modern means.
Through the mediation of Ministry, Mr Ibáñez-Martín obtained the funds for the Instituto Laboral in Daimiel, a work designed and built by Fisac.
1950 He won the first prize for a competition for economic housing, organized by the COAM, with his project for “casas en cadena”. These were never built.
He built the Instituto Laboral in Daimiel, despite the opposition of the Town Council, and the library of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas at 4 Medinaceli Street, in Madrid, in which his interest in Nordic architecture became evident.
1951 He developed his first patent, the light brick for exterior walls (ladrillo aligerado de cerramiento exterior), which he used for the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas Cajal y Ferrán, part of the CSIC.
He received the commission from the Dominicans for the apostolic school “Arcas Reales” in Valladolid; in this project artists as important as Capúz and Oteiza also worked.
1952 He started a period of intense activity while he was becoming one of the most prestigious and demanded architects of the nation.
1953 He gave a series of conferences at the Architecture Faculty in Manila. He visited Japan and was especially impressed by Japanese traditional houses and gardens.
1954 He received the Gold Medal at the Exhibition of Religious Art in Vienna, for the church of “Arcas Reales” in Valladolid. His work began to be known abroad.
1955 He designed the Teologado San Pedro Mártir for the Dominicans Friars in Alcobendas, Madrid, a point of reference for knowledge of his architecture.
He made a tour around the world. He went to the United States and visited specially the works by Wright and Mies. He visited his friend Richard Neutra in LA.
He was appointed as consultant architect of the Cathedral in Manila. He travelled to Jerusalem as architect of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. On his return, on the last day of September 1955, he abandoned the Opus Dei.
1956 He built his own house in Cerro del Aire. He would live there all his life.
1957 He married Ana María Badell on the 11th January and they moved into the house in Cerro del Aire. He was juror in the competitiont for the construction of the Spanish pavilion in the International Exhibition in Brussels in 1958, won by Corrales and Molezún.
1958 He received a commission, shared with Alejandro de la Sota, for the construction of the Parish Church of La Coronación in Vitoria. Fisac’s project was chosen from the submitted preliminary plans. He carried out the construction on his own.
1959 He began to be preoccupied with construction with prestressed concrete. He experimented in the contest for the church of San Esteban in Cuenca, for which he won the second prize. He received the commission to design a high school in Valladolid.
He built the Made laboratories, coming close to the understanding of concrete as the material of his time.
1960 He received the commission for the Hydrographic Studies Centre and the Hydraulic Laboratory, where he used a novel structural solution to cover the Nave de Modelos (Test hall) with post-stressed concrete beams which he patented and named “bone-beams”, a structural solution that would become a recurrent theme in his work in the Seventies.
1962 He visited pre-Columban architecture and he was impressed by the steps up to the University Campus of Mexico City.
He designed his “pata de gallina (“hen’s feet”) furniture as a commission for very stable furniture for the company Transmediterránea. These pieces would be the furniture for most of his buildings afterwards.
He designed the Hotel Punta Rotja in Mallorca.
1964 He obtained his Ph.D in Architecture from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid.
1965 He built the church of Santa Ana in Moratalaz, designed in memory of his deceased daughter, and the School of the Congregación de la Asunción de Cuestas Blancas in Alcobendas.
He received the commission for the Jorba Laboratories in Madrid, and he built one of the most charismatic and singular buildings in the city, topped with a six-storey tower based on the development of hyperbolic paraboloids.
1966 He received the commission from the American multinational IBM to design the Centro de Cálculo Electrónico in the Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid.
1967 He travelled to Eastern Europe, visiting Moscow, Leningrado, Berlin, Prague…; he was particularly interested in system for heavy prefabrication in the construction industry. He continued trying out new prestressed and poststressed concrete systems, as he managed brilliantly in the industrial building for Bodegas San Patricio de Garvey, in Jerez de la Frontera.
1968 He began to reflect on the texture of concrete and its forms. Achieving the adequate texture of a material that came liquid to the site became an obsession.
1969 He published his reflections about urban planning in the book titled: La Molécula Urbana. His basic approach goes back to “what is the minimum city with the necessary services?”
1970 He designed and built the Centro de Rehabilitación of the M.U.P.A.G., where he developed his new patent of flexible formwork.
1971 He moved his studio to his home in Cerro del Aire, where he experimented with different solutions for the texture of concrete.
1979 The first thesis on Miguel Fisac is published. The author was María Cruz Morales.
1982 He published “Carta a mis sobrinos”, a handmade edition, and “Mi estética es mi ética”, published by the Museum of Ciudad Real.
He travelled as a speaker to the Congress of Stockholm on “Arquitectura y pretensado”.
1985 He published “Arquitectura popular manchega”.
1989 Fisac’s works are published in the collection “Documentos de Arquitectura”.
1990 He designed and built the office building for Urbamed in San Juan, Alicante.
1993 The School of Architecture in Munich organized the first retrospective exhibition on his work, when he was eighty years old, as recognition of his professional trajectory.
1994 He received the Gold Medal for Architecture awarded by the Consejo Superior de los Colegios de Arquitectos de España (High Council of Architects Associations of Spain).
1996 The monograph of Miguel Fisac is published by the publishing company PRONAOS.
A retrospective of his pictorial work was inaugurated in the gallery Biosca in Madrid.
1997 He received the Antonio Camuñas Architecture Award.
The monograph of Miguel Fisac, architect, is published by the CSCAE.
2000 He won the First Prize in the contest for the construction of a sports centre in Getafe, Madrid.
He built the Theatre and Library in Castilblanco de los Arroyos (Sevilla).
2003 He was awarded with the National Prize for Architecture, officially announced on 29th September 2003, the date of his ninetieth birthday.
2005 The I Miguel Fisac Symposium took place at the headquarters of the Architects Association of Ciudad Real.
2006 He died on the 12th May, at the age of 92, at his home in Cerro del Aire, Madrid.
© Vicente Patón-Alberto Tellería
© Fundación Fisac
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