María González Pendas

Lecturer and Mellon Research Fellow

Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Columbia University

María González Pendás teaches and writes in modern architectural history, with an emphasis on the politics of modernism in the second half of the twentieth century across the Iberian World. Her research reflects on the dislocations of architects’ ideologies, representation, and regimes of power; the role of language and silence in modernism and technocracy; the politics and aesthetics of labor; the intersection of architecture with processes of secularization; and the aesthetics, techniques, and buildings of fascist modes government. Her book manuscript, titled Fascism Remodeled: Franquista Spain and the Buildings of a Catholic Technocracy, examines the latter in the context of Spain during the mid-twentieth century. In it, she discusses the role buildings played in the survival of the longest-lasting dictatorship in twentieth century Europe, disclosing the historical refashioning of fascism and the association of modernism with certain forms of reactionary Catholicism. Her current research considers the broader impact of secularization on the development of building technologies and narratives of progress across Latin America. González Pendás has worked on the work of Félix Candela, and is currently writing on the relationship between his concrete structures and the politics of labor during Mexican development.

González Pendás received her PhD in Architecture History and Theory from Columbia University in New York City, was previously trained as an architect in the Polytechnic University in Madrid, and is currently a Mellon Research Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University. Prior to joining the Department of Art History and Archeology at Columbia, she taught at the Art Department at Vassar College and the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia. While she teaches primarily history and theory courses, González Pendás is also regularly involved in design studio, currently at The Cooper Union in New York. As a designer, she worked in building and exhibition practices in Madrid and Chicago. Her academic work has received the support of the Fulbright Commission, the Temple Hoyne Buell Center, the Graham Foundation, and the Caja Madrid Foundation.

Selected Publications

“Politics of the Void: Franquista Spain at Expo’58” in Rika Devos, Alexander Ortenberg and Vladimir Paperny, eds. Architecture of Great Expositions 1937-1958: Messages of Peace, Images of War (Ashgate, 2015)

“Apátridas Architectures: Candela, Sert, and the Return of the Modern to Postwar Spain” in Scot Soo and Sharif Gemie, eds. Coming home? Conflict and return migration in the aftermath of Europe’s twentieth-century civil wars (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2013)

“Technics and Geopolitics: Felix Candela’s Political Imaginary” in Patricio del Real and Helen Gyger, eds. Latin American Modern Architectures: Ambiguous Territories (Routledge, 2012)