August 09, 2013


Architect whose work on El Escorial had an enormous influence on later Spanish architecture.

Serving as the royal inspector of monuments he witnessed the imitation of the Herreran style in churches and palaces throughout Spain.

After studying at the University of Valladolid Herrera accompanied King Philip II of Spain to Italy and Brussels (1547-51) as a courtier and from 1551 to 1559 he was with the King in Italy and at Yuste, Spain.

In 1563 he was appointed assistant to Juan Bautista de Toledo at El Escorial and in 1572 he was appointed head architect. He reorganized the workshops, completed the roofs, added a section to the west facade, designed the church (1574-82) and built the infirmary.

He later worked at Aranjuez (after 1567), at the Exchange in Seville (after 1582) and at the cathedral of Valladolid (after 1585).

Herrera´s designs have been called cold, academic and monotonous by his detractors. While agreeing that they are severe and bare of decoration, other critics have found them to be of harmonic proportions expressed in a style suitable to the particular building.

His addition to the west facade of El Escorial relieves the monotony of Toledo´s original plan and his church there is a marked improvement on the latter´s earlier design.

The palace at Aranjuez is a delightful summer retreat.

The Exchange in Seville is a departure from traditional Spanish meeting places: it is a square, freestanding block with vaulted halls surrounding a courtyard instead of the familiar hall-church pattern of Zaragoza, Barcelona and Valencia and his design for Valladolid cathedral became the model for cathedrals in Mexico and in Lima.

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