Designing America: Spain’s imprint in the U.S.

Contrato de Investigación con la Fundación Consejo España - Estados Unidos
Diseñar America

Juan Miguel Hernández León

Associate curator
Francisco Arques

Concha Lapayese
Miguel Ángel Aníbarro
Javier Ruíz
Lucía Jalón
Alberto Calderón
Rodrigo de la O
David Escudero
Nicolás Mariné
Andrés Rodríguez
Ana Matos
Covadonga Blasco

Fundación Consejo España-EEUU

Time period

The project aims to examine, under the same looking glass, Spain’s contribution towards the construction of territories, landscapes and cities in the United States: a living legacy under constant renewal despite the passage of time. The purpose of this work was to provide documentary evidence for the “Designing America: Spain’s Imprint in the U.S.” exhibition, which was open to the public at Spain’s National Library (from 4/6/2015 to 12/10/2014) and the Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain in Washington DC (from 8/12/2015 to 28/2/2016).

With some 500 years of uninterrupted control, Spain was the first European nation to settle in the territory that is known today as the United States, and the one that has stayed the longest. This influence extends to very distinct fields: from the exploration and charting on the map of the American territory to the founding of American cities. A long period of Spanish rule (1565-1821) that has left behind pivotal influences on the territory’s structure and the composition of its landscape. Through to today, the work of Spanish engineers and architects in the United States has kept this connection alive.

The research is structured around four blocks that take the visitor on a themed yet non-sequential cross-sectional journey: (I) The image of America; (II) Constructing the territory; (III) Cities: the Spanish urban space; and (IV) Constructed works: architecture and engineering. Each of these blocks uses maps, books, images and objects to create a fluid dialogue between the past and the present, through original works from the collections of the Spain’s National Library, the General Military Archive and the Naval Museum Archive.

The results of the work have been published as a book, “Designing America: Spain’s Imprint in the U.S.”, which serves as the exhibition catalogue and includes texts by Juan Miguel Hernández León, Francisco Arques, Javier Ruiz, Miguel Ángel Aníbarro, Marc Treib, Joan Busquets and Susan Larson, among others.