23 Apr, 2022 @ 10:00
1 min read

‘Spain is Ugly’: New book takes swipe at chronic overdevelopment of costas and charts architectural ruin of Spain

'Historic' fine in Benidorm threatens to bankrupt the tourist mecca: City hall is ordered to pay €283million compensation to family who was blocked from building on protected land

THE renowned editor of El Pais’s travel supplement Andres Rubio claims ill thought out overdevelopment has ruined Spain in his controversial new book ‘España Fea’ or ‘Ugly Spain’.

He claims that decades of poor urban planning have ruined much of the country’s urban landscape.

This may come as a shock to residents of Spain, the country that is home to world heritage sites rivalled by few on the continent, if not the world.

But for Rubio, the country has gone through a ‘cultural catastrophe’

He claims Spanish politicians have given little thought on how to grow cities and villages in a way that protects cultural heritage.

Intempo Building
The Edificio Intempo building in Benidorm divides opinion.
Photo: Wikipedia

“Spain is ugly. It is very hard to say, but that’s how it is,” he says.

Despite his bold claims, Rubio’s book has been fairly well received.

“People see this as a very important issue in Spain. If you destroy a landscape, you end up destroying part of our memory.”

He is most critical of the fishing villages on the Costa del Sol, which he says have been chronically overdeveloped and describes Benidorm’s newly built Intempo skyscraper – the tallest residential building in Europe – as ‘hideous’.

The author used twitter to invite people to nominated the ugliest building in Spain.

However, Rubio also cites some model examples such as the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela which has built a reputation for rejecting new build projects that do not align with its rustic aesthetic.

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George Mathias

George is an NCTJ trained-journalist who moved from London to Spain's Costa del Sol and joined the Olive Press in February 2022. He has previous experience working at the Basingstoke Gazette and Reach. Contact him George@theolivepress.es

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