Since the early 19th century, there has been a noticeable revival to earlier architectural styles throughout Andalucía, including neo-Gothic and, in particular, neomudécar and neo-Islamic. Private villas as well as urbanisations often reflect past Muslim architectural style, including such elements as inner courtyards, arched doorways and windows, fountains and the frequent use of brick instead of stone. Numerous public buildings have also been designed with a Moorish influence, ranging from railway stations in Seville and Almeria to markets in Málaga and Tarifa. For the 1920's Exposición Iberoamericana, elaborate buildings in almost every past Andalusian style were constructed in Seville. In general, however, the early 20th-century architecture in Andalucía was characterized by architectural revivals.
For obvious reasons, the Franco era was an architectural trough. In Seville, historic buildings were demolished to make way for new roads and developments and drab, Soviet-style blocks of workers' housing sprang up in many cities; most of these are still in evidence on the outskirts of the major cities.
Other than occasional models of genuine inspiration, such as the modernist buildings of Gaudi, much of the modern architecture has its roots in older, tried and true traditions. At the time of writing there is a property boom in southern Spain, particularly around the Costa del Sol tourist resorts. The results is an increased demand for experienced architects, familiar with the building regulations, suppliers and, perhaps most important of all, with designing buildings suitable for the southern Mediterranean environment and climate.
Some architects have quickly made a name for themselves by being linked to some outstanding project. Benalmadena's Puerto Marina, for example, is architect Eduardo Oria's vision of what the Moors might have been building today, had their culture been allowed to naturally evolve on the Iberian peninsula. The result is evocative, upbeat and, above all, thoroughly unique; one of Oria's prime objectives. There are numerous other examples of outstanding architecture throughout the Costa del Sol.
In Marbella, for example, the mix of cultures reflected by the residents can be seen through the varied architectural styles that include Renaissance, Baroque, Moorish and pure Castillian. There is a marvelous mix of old and new, of history, sophistication and simplicity. And, although, admittedly some of the architecture that has appeared over the last decade is nothing short of an eyesore, it is still possible to find stunningly beautiful developments and villas, with the added plus of mountain and Mediterranean views.