COURSE 1.4: Buildings and sites in the 20th century (3 ECTS)


Over the last 20 years there has been increased interest in conserving the heritage of the 20th century. However, the conservation of 20th-century buildings and sites poses new challenges for those responsible for their management and for conservation practitioners. Lack of recognition (with the exception of the icons), the absence of comprehensive research frameworks for identification of 20th-century heritage and correspondingly poor protection, have resulted in the loss of many places that will be lamented in the near future. in this block, criteria of analysis and enhancement of the buildings and sites of the 20th Century will be treated, in order to achieve new work tools for preservation and comprehension (see the "Dossiers for Block 1" page).

Course objectives:

To qualify students in the construction history and innovative materials and technologies in 20th century architecture.  

To acquire students a whole approach about the intervention on the buildings of the 20th century. 

To qualify students in defining the relation of building technologies in 20th century architecture with the location environments.

To qualify students in the identification of the urban context of heritage monuments and the history of the cities of the 20th century.

Course structure:

The course will combine theoretical classes with active learning. Each week a different topic will be treated. Lectures will have a duration of one hour. The teaching material related with the lecture will be uploaded to the eGela platform before the class. Class exercises are carried out for each topic so that the students will understand and apply the theoretical contents. In addition, students will also undertake a course exercise, which will related with the buildings and sites of the 20th century. This task will be done in groups, using active learning methodologies, in order to promote cooperative work and collective autonomy. Each working group will study the structural system of one of the buildings proposed at the beginning of the course. In the exercise, the students will inspect and diagnose the structural elements of the building and, subsequently, they will elaborate a proposal for the repair of the elements with damage or pathologies.


11/12/2023-15/12/2023 (teaching week 1)

08/01/2024-12/01/2024 (teaching week 2)

15/01/2024-19/01/2024 (week to complete exercises)


Coordinator: Lauren Etxepare Iguiñiz, 0,5 ECTS. Izaskun Aseginolaza, 1.5 ECTS. Lorenzo Savio, 1 ECTS. Invited lecturers: Susana Landrove (DOCOMOMO), Celestino García Braña (DOCOMOMO), Fernando Agrasar (DOCOMOMO) and Sara Pérez (DOCOMOMO)


The course is structured in 6 modules and a fieldtryp, with the following structure("L" means lecture): 

1.- Construction History and Innovative materials and technologies in 20th century architecture, 11th and 12th December 2023 

L1: prospectives between conservation and renovations; relation with the location environments. Prof. Lorenzo Savio from POLITO (Politecnico di Torino).

L2: 20th-century Architecture: forms of technological expression and the "environmental issues", conservation and innovationProf. Lorenzo Savio from POLITO (Politecnico di Torino). 

2.- Urban improvement: the case study of Vila de Gracia (Barcelona), 13th-15th December 2023

L3: Vila de Gràcia: a reinterpretation of the extension of Cerdá in Barcelona: from a homogeneous net of the beginning of the century to a complex net for the city of the 21st century. Prof. Izaskun Aseginolaza from School of Architecture of San Sebastian, the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU

3.- Identification of the urban values of the 20th century city: the case study of Donostia, 13th-15th December 2023

L4: Identification of the urban values of the 20th century city in the city of Donostia. Prof. Izaskun Aseginolaza from School of Architecture of San Sebastian, the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU

L5: Study of other 20th century cities all over the world. Prof. Izaskun Aseginolaza from School of Architecture of San Sebastian, the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU

4.- Residential architecture and developmentalism: the ZUP of Sainte-Croix, in Bayonne (France), 13th-15th December 2023

L6: Study of the French construction systems employed in large public housing schemes. Prof. Lauren Etxepare from School of Architecture of San Sebastian, the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU

L7: Residential typologies employed in large public housing schemes Prof. Lauren Etxepare from School of Architecture of San Sebastian, the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU

5.- Architecture and colonialism: Tunisian works of Joseph Hiriart, 13th-15th December 2023

L8: Urban policies in the colonial cities of the Mahgreb: the case-study of Tunis. Prof. Lauren Etxepare from School of Architecture of San Sebastian, the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU

6.- DOCOMOMO module, 8th, 9th and 17th January 2024

L9: Case studies and experiences. Drs. Fernando Agrasar and Sara Pérez

L10: Presentation of the exercise. Drs. Fernando Agrasar and Sara Pérez

L11: Exhibition of the works. Architects Susana Landrove and Celestino García Braña, Directorate of DOCOMOMO

7.- Displacement to Barcelona, 10th and 12th January 2024

Course assessment:

To have successfully completed the course, students will be required to pass all two sections: course exercise and the average of the class exercises. The value of each section is as follows:

- %50 course exercise

- %50 class exercises

Evaluation and Resit rules:

All the courses/subjects and Master Dissertation have jointly evaluation rules based in the quality of the practical works proposed by the teachers. The student and teachers presence is mandatory. Related with the courses/subjects all the teachers involved in them have to send to the coordinator teacher the individual evaluation of the students.

The evaluation level (excellent, good and deficient) will be taken by the coordinator following the opinions of the teachers involved and in agreement with them. The evaluation level will be discussed with the student. If a student fail a course (deficient level), at least one resit per course/subject within the period Block will be allowed. This resit will take into account the new data and solutions reported by the student. The resit evaluation process will be similar to the initial one.

Students with a deficient level after resitting a course/subject will be remain bound to the EMJMD until ends of the respective Block where the course is allocated. In these cases, the Academic Committee will review the study performance status of the student and advises on continuation of the programme in accordance with their regulations. Students with very weak study performance (decided by the Academic Committee) may lose their scholarship or may be advised to end their study. Students who quite ARURCOHE early, but have successfully completed several courses/subjects, will get a certificate stating the courses for which they have earned credits (in ECTS). This decision will be communicated to the Erasmus+ Program office.


Ayon, A., Pottgiesser, U., Richards, N. (2019): Reglazing Modernism, intervention strategies for the 20th-century icons, Birkhaüser, Basel, 2019.

Bosia, D., Gentucca C., Marzi, T., Savio, L. (2019): Architecture in the second half of the 20th century: forms of expression and the "environmental issue", Tema, 5(2).

Bosia, D., Marzi, T., Savio, L., Bombelli, V. (2022): "Collaboration Between Architects and Companies in the Development of a Modern Architecture Lexicon: Bombelli's Technological Systems", In C. Bartolomei, A. Ippolito, S.H. Tanoue Vizioli (eds.): Digital Modernism Heritage Lexicon, Springer, pp. 24, 2022.

DO.CO.MO.MO International, Re-framing the Moderns, substitute windows and glass, april 2000. - Susan Macdonald and Gail Ostergren (editors), Conserving Twentieth-Century Built Heritage A Bibliography Second Editio, The Getty Center Conservation Institute, 2013.

DO.CO.MO.MO International, The fair face of Concrete, conservation and repair of exposed concrete, April 1997.

Etxepare (2022): Tunisian Works (1927-1936) of Joseph Hiriart. Completing the architectural career of an Art Deco Master, The Journal of Architecture, 27: 2-3, 296-321.

Etxepare, L. (2011): "Residential Architecture and developmentalism: a place and two contexts", in C. Brebbia (ed.): Structural Studies, Repairs and Maintenance of Heritage Architecture XII, WIT Press, 247-255.

Etxepare, L. (2023): Ingenuity versus Conservatism: Pioneering High-Rise Housing in the Basque Province of Gipuzkoa (1958-73), Architectural Histories, 11(1), 1-35.

Etxepare, L.; Uranga, E. J.; Zuazua-Guisasola, N. (2015): Marcel Breuer and Jean Barets in Bayonne (1964-68): the use of architectural precast concrete panels in large public housing schemes, Construction History, 30(1), 109-126.

Etxepare, L.; Uranga, E.J.; Lizundia, I.; Sagarna, M. (2020): Unités & hybrids (1963-74). Three Basque exercises on linear residential blocks, ACE Architecture, City and Environment, 44.

Martín Ramos A. (2004): Los orígenes del ensanche Cortázar de San Sebastián, Fundación Caja de Arquitectos, Barcelona.

Sabaté J. (1999): El proyecto de la calle sin nombre, Arquithesis, Fundación Caja de Arquitectos, Barcelona.

Serra Riera, E. (1995): Geometría i projecte de sòl als orígens de la Barcelona moderna: la vila de Gràcia, Barcelona: UPC.

Tejada Villaverde, J.R. (2018): El desarrollo urbanístico de Donostia-San Sebastian: La colonización urbana de un territorio complejo, Donostia: Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa.