Aerial photograph of Azuqueca de Henares. Source:

The transformation of rural settlements into factory towns through the establishment of large industrial plants. The case of Cristalería Española in Azuqueca de Henares in the 1960s

Authors: Miriam Martín Díaz, Enrique Castaño Perea

When the Cristalería Española glassworks was set up in Azuqueca de Henares in the 1960s, it led to the transformation of a small, farming settlement in La Mancha into a minor factory town. And also began the process of shaping what would become the prosperous Henares Corridor.

The site was chosen for its location close to Madrid, where the National II highway and the Madrid-Barcelona railway route were already being established. The establishment of the factory along this route led to a change in the local region and an evolution in the social fabric of the town.

Aside from its considerable industrial impact, the project also had a significant social impact, as management devised a housing plan for their employees, divided into different strata: homes for managers, technical staff and shopfloor workers. Leading architects working on social housing projects in the capital, headed by organisations such as the Trade Union Homes Fund, were involved in the development of the housing.

The article presented here studies these housing initiatives, presenting the projects and social circumstances involved, along with their close relationship with the urban, industrial and residential development of the town.

Download the whole article here.

The presentation made at the International Congress on Worker Settlements and Factory Towns held in October 2018 may be found here