MADRID — In 1936, the photographer Robert Capa trained his lens on children outside a pockmarked tenement in Madrid that had been bombed by the German Luftwaffe. That image of the Spanish Civil War remains a powerful reminder of the effects of armed conflict on civilians.
This month, some 85 years after the picture was made, plans are underway for the decrepit, century-old building to be preserved and converted into a cultural center that will celebrate the photographer’s work and commemorate Madrid’s wartime history. Residents of the tenement were permanently moved to subsidized housing.
For those who had made their homes in the building, the change was long overdue. Most of them could not afford something better because of a chronic shortage of subsidized housing in Madrid. In January, the discrepancy between the city’s haves and have-nots was on full display when a giant snowstorm deepened the misery in one of the poorest areas of Madrid.
In their new homes, the residents will pay the same or even less for more space, proper heating and other improvements.
reduced the amount of state-subsidized housing to less than 1 percent of the total available — about a quarter of the average across the European Union.
banded together to urge the government to oblige large real estate owners to make some of their holdings available for subsidized housing.
José María Uría, who works for a labor union foundation that led the efforts to salvage the Capa building, said that when the tenement opened in 1927, it was billed as a “new housing model for the working class.”
Some local residents even called the building “the home of the rich,” Mr. Uría added, because one of its inner courtyards had the relative luxury of a water well.