The Integration of the Arts


  • Carlos Raúl Villanueva




Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


The arts bear witness to the cultural meaning of each period; we can discover the features that marked a historic individuality thanks to them. The more they demonstrate the union of concept or formal participation between them, the more clearly the social axis around which the man/culture duality revolves unfolds itself. The presence of this axis favours the agglutination of artistic expression. What is more, the unity of human content is fertile and a necessary condition so that the total integration flourishes. Architecture, painting, sculpture and technique combine around a common aim, around a collective purpose. The coming together of objectives facilitates the plastic synthesis.

How to Cite

Villanueva, C. R. (2010). The Integration of the Arts. Docomomo Journal, (42), 53–55.




Author Biography

Carlos Raúl Villanueva

Villanueva was born in the city of London on May 30, 1900. In 1922, following the footsteps of his brother Marcel, Carlos Raúl was admitted to the Second Class of the Department of Architecture of the École des Beaux-Arts and entered the workshop of Gabriel Héraud. In 1925 he entered the First Class of the Department of Architecture and worked closely with León Joseph Madeline. During that time he collaborated on a project for a Hôtel d’ambassade a construire dans un pays d’Extreme Orient with another student of Héraud’s workshop, Roger-Leopold Hummel, which won the Second prize of the Grand Prix de Rome in 1928. On June 6 of the same year, he received his Architecture degree and traveled for the first time to Venezuela and the United States where he joined the architectural firm Guilbert and Betelle with his brother in Newark, New Jersey. Yet in 1929 Villanueva returned to Venezuela and started working in the Ministry of Public Works as Director of Buildings and Ornamental Constructions.

After gaining some experience in France and the United States, Villanueva arrives in Venezuela full of enthusiasm and ideas; in particular, thanks to the influence of his close friend Auguste Perret. His first important commission came in 1935 with the project to build the Museum of Fine Arts of Caracas. This project allowed him to create a space for the exhibition of art, one of his most important passions. Already at this time his devotion to the artistic vanguards of the century could be seen in his library, where his large collection of books on architecture was complemented by those on art. It was also during this time that he met the sculptor Francisco Narváez with whom he collaborated in the Museum of Fine Arts as well as in a series of other important projects like the “Natural Science Museum”(1936–1939) and the “Gran Colombia School” (1939–1942) which became Villanueva’s first attempt to bring into fruition the guiding principle of career: the synthesis of the arts. The buildings also showed Villanueva’s application of some of the most defining ideas of modern architecture like the simplification of form and the importance given to functionality.