Making curvy cool with the humble brick

I’ve started looking around Santander with new eyes recently. In a previous post, I described the ferry building in Santander as seductive. And I spoke about living in a 1960s block and loving it.  I didn’t explain why I liked these buildings. The simple answer is good architecture. And my new hero is Ricardo Lorenzo.

Lorenzo (1927-1989) was born in the neighbouring city of Torrelavega. He studied architecture in Barcelona and upon graduation, set up a practice in Santander. The man is a cult figure among architects and others in the arts. But the general public – myself included – often fail to understand the beauty in the simplicity of his design and use of materials.

What I want to do is to show how beautiful the humble brick can be. I took a tour of Santander last weekend to record the curviest, brickiest Lorenzo buildings in the city. I’m presenting what I liked in chronological order. (Thanks to my brother-in-law, Jose, for lending me his 1990 Lorenzo catalogue – which he had actually helped collate in the College of Architects). Sometime in the future, I’ll provide some context and seek some expert commentary on Lorenzo’s work. For now, I’ll just let the images do the talking.

Estacion Maritima (Ferry building)
Muelle de Calderon, Santander

Estacion Maritima Santander

The Ferry building (Estacion Maritima), Santander 1971 – featuring cranes from the Botin Centre behind

25 apartments plus basement
Calle Don Daniel, Santander

Don Daniel building Ricardo Lorenzo Santander

Curvy views of the bay and Puntal sandbank from Calle Don Daniel, Santander 1971

14 apartments plus carpark
Avenida de los Castros, Santander

Ricardo Lorenzo Avenida Castros Santander 1972

Gorgeous curvy edge to the block on Avenida Los Castros, Santander, 1972

64 apartments plus carpark
Carretera del Faro, Santander

Ricardo Lorenzo 1974 Carretera Faro Santander

Balconies puff out like scales, Carretera Faro (Lighthouse Road), Santander, 1974

36 apartments
Calle Don Daniel, Santander

Ricardo Lorenzo Don Daniel 1975 Santander

Balconies are again the prominent feature, Calle Don Daniel, Santander, 1975

Escuela Tecnico Superior de Ingenieros de Caminos Canales y Puertos
Avenida de los Castros, Santander

Caminos Santander Avenida Castros 1976 Ricardo Lorenzo

Curves balancing the geometric lines on the Civil Engineering Faculty (Caminos) building, Avenida de los Castros, Santander 1976

Whilst not curvy (more linear), you can actually experience a Lorenzo building with a drink in your hand. Bar del Puerto is on Calle Hernan Cortes 63, in front of the Puertochico Harbour. It was designed by Lorenzo in 1960 and is bustling for ‘aperitivos’ or pre-lunch drinks at weekends. [The front is propped up with scaffolding this week so I did my best below:)].

Bar del Puerto Ricardo Lorenzo

Entrance to Bar del Puerto, Santander – an institution for rabas (squid) and more

Do you like Lorenzo’s designs?


  1. fantastic buildings and really good post Pamela

    1. Thanks Artur! Your photography is great. As of now, I’m following your blog…

  2. great photos – interesting topic! curious to read more about the context and/or some expert commentary..

    1. Thanks for the suggestion Daniel. It’s something I’ve been considering myself. I should revisit some of these buildings with an architect, engineer or urban planner. I’ll see what I can do 🙂

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