Published in DASH #10 - Housing the Student
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‘If… you can Dream and Not Make Dreams Your Master…’ 1

La Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid

‘The Residencia is an acropolis scattered with poplars, where Mr. and Mrs. Jimenez have created a centre for students, school of solidarity, sense of initiative, solid virtue. It’s like a monastery – quiet and happy – what luck for students!’2 It’s no surprise that Corbu would emphatically praise the monastic virtues – those associated with the well-known English college model – of a student residence such as the one built in Madrid between 1913 and 1918. Not for nothing had the committed first director of the Residencia, Alberto Jimenez Fraud, visited England in order to study the tutorial model between 1907 and 1909, and one of its tutors, Alfonso Reyes, would refer to the new complex as ‘Oxford and Cambridge in Madrid’.3 But appearances, as well as declarations, may in this case be deceiving. Planned by architect Antonio Florez Urdapilleta and later completed by Francisco Javier de Luque, the Residencia de Estudiantes, if undoubtedly sharing grounds with the concept of the English college, also embodied a larger number of features in frank opposition to the latter… 4


  • From Rudyard Kipling’s poem If . . . , first published in 1910 and the source of the title of Lindsay Anderson’s film (1968).
  • Quote from the conferences delivered by Le Corbusier in the Residencia de Estudiantes, 8 and 11 May 1928. From the exh. cat. Le Corbusier, Madrid 1928. Una casa, un palacio (Madrid, 2010).
  • Alfonso Reyes, ‘La Residencia de Estudiantes’, ResidenciaI, vol. 1 (1926) no. 2, (quoted in the dossier ‘Una habitacion historica de la Residencia de Estudiantes’). See also: Ian Gibson, Luis Buñuel (Madrid: Aguilar, 2013), 111 (quote from: John Brande Trend, A Picture of Modern Spain [1921])
  • The main source for Florez’s biography and the history of the Residencia de Estudiantes is the work of Salvador Guerrero, curator of the exhibition about Florez held in 2002 in the Residencia. See: Salvador Guerrero (ed.), Antonio Flórez, arquitecto (1877- 1941) (Madrid: Residencia de Estudiantes, 2002).