Concrete as heritage: social perception and its valuing. The Zarzuela hippodrome case

30 December 2019

New publication out! Read the case study of the Zarzuela Hippodrome and the research done by the University of Cadiz: the article is part of the publishing “WIT Transactions on The Built Environment”.


Concrete is the constructive material used to design most of the buildings of the 20th century, some of them of great architectural, historical and cultural relevance. However, the social perception that exists around these constructions, as regards the consideration as architectural and artistic heritage, reflects discordant aspects. Several authors affirm that the 20th century concrete heritage lacks enough appreciation by society, which hinders the tasks to develop or encourage their social consideration and their tourist use. On the other hand, in some cases, this kind of heritage are not considered attractive tourist resources, therefore the maintenance work is no longer a priority, which does not guarantee minimum standards of conservation. In this context, the University of Cadiz leads a European project H2020 called InnovaConcrete, whose aim is to preserve the 20th century monuments built in concrete in countries of the European Union. The Zarzuela Hippodrome (declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 2009 and inaugurated in 1941, after the Spanish Civil War) has been selected as an ideal example when gathering aspects of economic, social, cultural, aesthetic and architectural functionality. The results obtained, through various surveys and interviews with agents involved, envisage a strong correlation between the widespread ignorance about the historical and architectural value of the building and its depreciation as a heritage element. It is therefore necessary to reflect on the special importance that, for this type of patrimonial groups, have the dissemination and information’s tasks about their historical and architectural, as well as artistic and social peculiarities.