La historia de la Escuela de Artediez

The years of economic development

The sixties were expected to bring a radical change in the economic and social structure of the country, which would have undeniable impact on education. It should be noted that changes in the educational system came perhaps too late and when the Education Act was enacted in 1970, social transformations are of an importance that cannot be resolved with this legislative reform.

In the field of educational organization, at the beginning of the decade, the Decree 2127.1963 established for these teachings four sections. The section for “Decoration and Advertising Art” included specialties of Decoration, Window Dressing, Fashion sketching, Advertising Drawing and Illustration Art. The section for “Industrial Design, Artistic Sketching and Technical Drawing” included the specialties of Industrial Design and Sketching and Artistic Delineation. The section for “Book Applied Arts” with specialties of Binding, Engraving, Lithography and Restoration; and finally the “Applied Arts” Workshops section with specialties of Cabinetmaking, Carpentry, Wood and Stone Carving, Locksmith, Goldsmith, Enamel, Metal Chiselling, Forge, Embossed Leather, Gilding and Polychrome, Casting and Moulding, Puppet making, Dressmaking, Embroidery and Lace, Tapestry and Carpets, Artistic Photography and Photogravure.

Due to, on the one hand, the great length of the curriculum of 1963 which established five years of training plus a final exam, and on the other hand, the higher background or qualification of students who acceded to these studies, it was the schools themselves the ones to start a process of transformation and update of the teachings to adapt them to social demands, existing cultural landscape and scientific and technical progress.

In 1963 the Ministry of Education decided that the building that housed the Art School Number Ten, unable to meet the needs of space and equipment needed by their students, should be demolished to build a new one in its site with a more modern design. New professions regulated by the curriculum of that same year, made necessary a modernization of the facilities, as they could just not cope with a simple remodelling of the existing building.

It was Luis Sala, an architect strongly influenced by the Modern Movement, former professor and director at these schools, who projected this new building. The new school would be higher than the old one, in order to accommodate various specialties in a bigger number of classrooms and better-equipped and lighted workshops. The building had five floors and reduced the interior spaces where once stood the yard, thus accommodate a larger number of rooms. The workshops were had bigger dimensions to facilitate the installation of the necessary infrastructure, the number of classrooms was multiplied by five, and the building had many unusual improvements in schools of his time.

The project was typical of the buildings of its time. Its sharp and blunt shapes showed a sober approach, but not without a certain tendency for ornamental forms. A large lattice would cover much of the west facade, while the projected ornaments were not the ones who finally were applied. It had large glass surfaces that would provide better lighting to the workshops.

The possibility that Madrid could have a modern centre for specialties characteristic of the section would be a reality from February 1966, the date on which the new building officially opened to the public.

However, the end of the sixties and the social transformation that would come along produced a series of changes in education that did not affect positively the arts teachings. In 1969 the Minister of Education, José Luis Villar Palasí, begins the process of transformation of the educational system that would shape into a new law. The General Education Act of 1970 placed the arts education in a purely hierarchical scheme, culminating in Fine Arts at the university level, establishing the regulatory framework for the Colleges of Fine Arts to become Faculties of Fine Arts a decade later, and for the Schools of Applied Arts and Crafts to have two levels, the top one in the range of colleges and, consequently, their titles having full equivalence to university degrees. This meant their inclusion in a higher level of autonomy.

So, this Act, in relation to artistic education, as it regulated a very indeterminate integration mandate, failed to be carried out, leaving these teachings virtually taken down from the rest of the education system.

As a result of these regulatory gaps and indecision of the administration, the teaching of applied arts were not an appropriate framework in a time of tremendous social changes as would be the end of Francoism and the beginnings of the transition.