Cadaqués, Girona, España
Casa Villavecchia – Viviendas modernas en el casco antiguo de Cadaqués. Alfons Milà Sagnier, Federico Correa Ruiz
1956 - 1960
Cadaqués, Girona, España
Casa Julià. Alfons Milà Sagnier, Federico Correa Ruiz
1957 - 1963
Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona, España
Actual EDIFICIO DEMOLIDO
Fábrica Montesa. Alfons Milà Sagnier, Federico Correa Ruiz
1961 - 1962
Cadaqués, Girona, España
Casa Rumeu. Alfons Milà Sagnier, Federico Correa Ruiz
1966 - 1970
Barcelona, Barcelona, España
Edificio Atalaya. Alfons Milà Sagnier, Federico Correa Ruiz, José Luis Sanz Magallón
1969 - 1970
Barcelona, Barcelona, España
Flash Flash Tortillería. Alfons Milà Sagnier, Federico Correa Ruiz
Federico Correa and Alfonso Milá
Both were born in Barcelona in 1924. Alfonso Milá was born into a family that belonged to the Catalan bourgeoisie and aristocracy, directly related to the architect Enric Sagnier. His uncle, Pedro Milá, awarded Gaudí the commission to build the famous Casa Milá, known as La Pedrera. Federico Correa’s family was not of Catalan origin, and during his childhood he lived in Manila where his father worked at the Compañía de Tabacos de Filipinas [General Tobacco Company of the Philippines]. When he was 10 years old, he returned to Barcelona, where he attended the Jesuit school in Sarrià. That was where he met Alfonso Milá, and the two forged a lasting friendship. During his adolescence, Alfonso Milá was known, along with his brother Leopoldo, for his love of motorcycles; he was the national motorcycle racing champion for Spain in 1949.
It was Alfonso who first announced his intention to study architecture, and Federico immediately seconded the idea, considering that his great drawing skills would be useful on the entrance exams. Once at university, Federico realized that architecture was his true vocation. Nonetheless, he was unsatisfied with his experience in school. According to him, only two of his teachers were remarkable: Josep Maria Jujol and Josep Francesc Ràfols. In the post-war period, many of the best teachers had left, and the quality of education at the Barcelona School had suffered. From a very young age, especially in Federico’s case, the two men’s intellectual pursuits brought them international contacts and relations, especially with Italy. These contacts not only resulted in a commitment to modernizing architecture, but also a firm political engagement with democracy and its defence from a Catalan, and Catalanist, context. Teaching was a way of combining those two pursuits: through their dedication to educating new generations and to the Barcelona School of Architecture, which they joined as professors as soon as they had finished their studies. Throughout his years as a teacher, Federico Correa played a prominent role in introducing the modernizing currents that came from countries like Italy, exerting a major influence on the following generations of Catalan architects. Colleagues of their generation included Oriol Bohigas, with whom they established a personal and, occasionally, professional relationship. In his later years, Oriol Bohigas dedicated an entire chapter of his memoirs to Federico Correa.
Both Correa and Milá worked in the office of José Antonio Coderch until 1953, when they started their own studio together. They not only developed a large number of architectural designs, but also became interested in industrial design and interior design. Especially noteworthy in the field of design was Alfonso’s brother, Miguel Milá, whose products, especially furniture and lamps, combined technology and craftsmanship in very elegant pieces. The timeless designs are still manufactured and marketed with great success to this day. The Cesta and TMC lamps are some of the most iconic products of 20th-century Spanish design.
The architects’ first built works were vacation homes for friends or family. The Villavecchia house in Cadaqués, although small, was their first major work and, in a way, it marked the start of a new path in Catalan architecture, along with Coderch’s Senillosa house, built a year later. They renounced a rationalist rhetoric, instead combining functionality with vernacular architecture, opening new avenues in modernity. Correa and Milá built several more projects in Cadaqués during the 1960s, as well as two notable industrial buildings: the Montesa factory ─ today, sadly, no longer standing – and the Godó i Trias factory. The Monitor and Atalaya buildings, both on Avinguda Diagonal, were their first notable works in Barcelona and their first forays into multi-family architecture. Several of their projects from these early years also marked a turning point in interior design in Barcelona: the stores for Furest and Olivetti and the restaurants Flash-Flash and Giardinetto. They became icons of design and symbols of the so-called gauche divine, a group of left-wing intellectuals, artists and professionals to which Federico and Alfonso belonged, who influenced the cultural landscape in Barcelona.
With the advent of democracy, their work took a leap in scale towards urban design: the renovation of Plaça Reial represented the beginning of the rehabilitation of Barcelona’s historic old town. During that same period they won the competition for the construction of the Olympic Park and, together with Vittorio Gregotti, they took on the adaptation of the Montjuïc Stadium to host the main events of the 1992 Olympic Games. In the later years, many of their projects focused on intervention in heritage buildings and historic surroundings: they renovated the main floor of the headquarters of the Catalan government (Generalitat), built the new headquarters of the Barcelona Provincial Council, incorporating a building by Puig i Cadafalch, and worked on the Episcopal Museum in Vic.
Alfonso Milá died in 2009, while Federico Correa lived to be 96 years old and passed away during the pandemic in 2020. The Architects’ Union of Catalonia conserves their extensive archive, containing more than 400 documented works.
- CORREA, Federico, MILÀ, Alfonso, Correa & Milá: en perspectiva, Col·legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya, Barcelona, 2023.
- ROCA BLANCH, Estanislao, ed., Hablando de color, ante la duda: marrón: homenatge de l’ETSAB a Federico Correa, Iniciativa Digital Politècnica. Oficina de Publicacions Acadèmiques Digitals de la UPC, Barcelona, 2020.
- AA VV, Un maestro de arquitectos en Barcelona: conversaciones con Federico Correa, Tusquets editores, Barcelona, 2020.
- AA VV, Federico Correa, 1924-2020 [vídeo], Fundación Arquia, Barcelona, 2016.
- Federico Correa entrevistado por Luis Fernández-Galiano. Documentary film by Fundación Arquia, 2005. https://fundacion.arquia.com/mediateca/filmoteca/p/Documentales/Detalle/340
- GRAUS, Ramón, La seu de la Diputació de Barcelona a la Casa Serra: història, ciutat i arquitectura, Diputació de Barcelona, Barcelona, 2012.
- AA VV, Federico Correa : arquitecto, crítico y profesor, T6: Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura, Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, 2002.
- AA VV, Federico Correa: dibujos, Col·legi d’ Arquitectes de Catalunya, Demarcació de Girona, Gerona, 2000.
- GALÍ, Beth, ed., Correa & Milá. Arquitectura 1950-1997 [Exhibition Catalogue], Dirección General de la Vivienda, la Arquitectura y el Urbanismo, Col.legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya, Barcelona-Madrid, 1997.
- CENTELLAS, Miguel, JORDÁ, Carmen, LANDROVE, Susana, eds., La vivienda moderna, Registro DOCOMOMO Ibérico, 1925-1965, Fundación DOCOMOMO Ibérico/Fundación Caja de Arquitectos, Barcelona, 2009.
- BAYO, Laura, “L’arxiu professional Correa-Milà, a l’abast”, in Informació i Debat, Barcelona, March 2007.
- RUMEU MILÀ, Teresa, “Exposició Correa & Milà”, in Ab: Arquitectes de Barcelona 66, Barcelona, December 1998.
- AA VV, Correa & Milà = Correa et Milà : arquitectura 1950-1997, Centro de Publicaciones, Secretaría General Técnica, Ministerio de Fomento, Madrid, 1997.