1891 Nicolau M. Rubió i Tudurí born in Mao (Menorca) on 5th February. Son of Maria Rubio i Bellve, originally from Reus, a military engineer, liberal and learned, and of Maria Tudurí i Monjo, who belonged to and old family of Menorcan business people connected in the past with England. The couple had five children: Nicolau, the eldest; Jaume, an engineer, author of the Barcelona underground and the Montserrat rack railway; Maria, a lawyer and politician, a representative in the Catalan Parliament for the “Esquerra Republicana” party; Isabel; and Ferran, a doctor and pharmaceutical chemist.

1896 The family moved to Barcelona and lived in what was the residential quarter in Barcelona at the end of the century: the Tibidabo.
Maria Rubió i Bellvé was given the post of Head Engineer in the “El Tibidabo” Company founded by Dr. Andreu. He was also a writer and brilliant journalist. From among his books the following should be noted: Diccionario de Ciencias Militares (1895-1903), Filosofía de la guerra (c.1918) and Juicios, observaciones y comentarios relativos a la lucha de las naciones. He edited the Barcelona Atracción magazine, he was a lover of, and very familiar with the Greek and Latin classics, and a personal friend of His Majesty King Alfonso XIII. His brother, Juan Rubió Bellvé, was a well-know “art-noveau” architect who designed the building known as “El frare blanc” on the Tibidabo Avenue. A passionate Catalan nationalist, he was a friend of Puig i Cadafalch’s, Gaudi’s and
Domenech i Montaner’s. 

1900 He begins his baccalaureate studies at the “instituto de la Universidad”, the only state grammar school then existing in Barcelona, as it was his father’s wish that he should not be educated by a religious order. “I have nearly always lived in a distinguished bourgeois atmosphere. I am bourgeois from head to foot”, Rubió would declare much later on in life. One might claim, rather, that it was a bourgeois bohemia, flavoured with adventure and the drawing-room.

1908 He begins his degree in architecture as
Head of the Domenech i Montaner school.

1909 He attends drawing classes at the
“Academia Galí", one of the most solid nuclei of Catalan “Noucentisme”, together with his university companion Ramón Reventós, with the only reult, according to Rubió, of taking the myth out of the artist’s work. The cosmopolitanism which envelops Rubió is partially a result of the social environment but, above all, comes from the Classicist influence which the “Academia Galí" exercised, not only on Rubió, but on a long list of architects: Adolf Florensa, Francesc Folguera, and his great friend Ramón Reventós. He begins painting watercolours, a form which he will cultivate for the rest of his life.

1915 He plans a hospital for terminal illnesses “in
the Domenech style” as an exercise at the end of his degree course, considering that this is the most appropiate style because it is Domenech himself who has to examine him.
In the month of March of this same year the Head Architect of Parks and Gardens in Paris, J.C.N. Forestier, arrives in Barcelona. These years of the First War are times of great prosperity in Barcelona. Spain has remained neutral; Barcelona, the industrial and commercial lung of the country, is a business centre of primary importance in wartime Europe. The Catalan “Mancomunitat” is thriving, led by men of prestige, such as Prat de la Riba, Puig i Cadafalch, Domenech i Montaner, Cambo, etc. It was through the latter, and the intervention of the painter Josep M. Sert, resident in Paris, that Forestier came to be commissioned by the “Mancomunitat” to remodel the Montjuic Mountain as the centre of the future World Exhibition in Barcelona. Maria Rubió i Bellvé, technical consultant to the Exhibition, puts forward his son’s name to be Forestier’s assistant. Forestier teaches Rubió the art of gardening. This event will be decisive in his life since he will find a true master in Forestier. The latter will also influence a whole way of behaviour in Rubio which will favour his entering the refined and cosmopolitan circles of the Twenties in Barcelona. Rubio was a “dandy” at that period, a member of the “Ateneu” and a regular visitor at the gatherings, the “tertulias”, organised by Isabel Llorach.

1916  He obtains his degree in Architecture from the “Escuela Superior de Arquitectura” in Barcelona. “Noucentisme” is the main cultural movement in Catalonia at this time.

1917 The painter Galí, his drawing teacher, recommends Rubió to Puig i Cadafalch and to Prat de la Riba and after following some courses in botany, he obtains the Chair in Gardening at the School of Arts and Crafts belonging to the “Mancomunitat”, a Chair from which he will be expelled with the coming of Primo de Rivera.
He obtains the post as Head of Public Gardens and Parks on Barcelona Corporation having presented himself at public entrance examination. He will occupy the post for twenty years, a period during which the majority of the green spaces which exist in the city are shaped. “The firmness which the «Lliga —Prat de la Riba— Early “Noucentisme” phenomenon revealed, which brought together the majority of the country’s intellectuals, began to crack in 1917. Prat’s controlling and unifying policy was interrupted that year by his death. His sucessor as President, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, never came to acquire the same charisma as the first President of the “Mancomunitat".

1919 He travels to London to attend the Town
Planning Congress, financed by the
He produces the Santa Clotilde gardens in which the expresses the spirit of Catalan “Noucentisme”. It is the most important private garden in twentieth century Spain.

1920 Appointed Town Architect in Esplugues, a
post he will occupy up until 1923.
He also edits the magazine called Civitas, a journal which publicises the civic association, “La Ciudad Jardín”, of which he is secretary. Civitas will become the main source for spreading John Ruskin and William Morris’s town planning ideas. On Rubios iniciative, “La Ciudad Jardi’n” applies to the “Mancomunitat” requesting a regional urban development. The aim of the society was to spread the garden-city model using all the means available. This Utopian purpose was expressed in the city of Barcelona in proposals for the dignifying of houses for workers, children’s parks, playing fields in open spaces... As a result of his being commissioned to design the monastery-church at Pedralbes, Rubió travels to Florence on a number of occasions with Duran i Reynals and Reventos to look at Brunelleschi’s Pazzi Chapel which would be the most direct source of inspiration for his work.

1922  A section of the younger and more active intellectuals, among them Rubió i Tudurí, viewed the “Lliga” parry’s attitude of pacting with the central government and their social conservatism with displeasure. It was from out of this group that a new party was born: “Actio Catalana” with Nicolau D’Olwer and Josep M. de Segarra. Rubió left it soon after even though his personality was the archetype represented by the new party, when he realized that the elections had cheated the interests of his party. Nevertheless, later, during Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship he would lend his support to radical Catalan nationalists. In December he goes on his first hunt to Africa, travelling through Senegal and Gambia together with Duran i Reynals and his brother, Ferran. This experience will later be reflected in a book. He produces the Barcelona Radio Pavilion on top of the Tibidabo Mountain. Rubio’s cosmopolitan and avant-garde work, it rises above the apparently Mediterraneanist framework and uses a Rationalist mode of expression for the first time in this country.

1923 He edits the journal of the “Boletín del Fomento National de Horticultura”, an association of which he is a member of the board of directors. General Primo de Rivera’s coup, and the subsequent dissolution of the “Mancomunitat”, paralyse his teaching activity because of his coming out in sympathy with his companions who had been dismissed at the “Escuela de Bellos Oficios”.

1925 Another trip to Africa in the company of the Botey brothers and Joan Mirambell, his only disciple in the gardening field. He supervises a course on gardening at the F.A.D. (“Fomento de las Artes Decorativas”). Pere Dot dedicates the rose “Director Rubio” to him. He plans the Pedralbes Palace gardens, a present which the Barcelona Town Council representing the Dictatorship offer the King. There, in the Palace gardens, Rubio reveals his unquestionable respect for Catalan tradition, enlivening the gardens already in existence and enhancing the entrance with a monumental fountain. The small lake in which the Palace facade is reflected is surrounded by pots of geraniums, a practice which is of clear Hispano-Arabic inspiration.

1926 He gives up his post as editor of the “Boleti’n Oficial del Fomento de la Horticultura” when it changes language and position. He puts forward his idea of the Barcelona of the future in a Corporation pamphlet: “El problema de los espacios libres”. He takes part in the XI National Congress of Architects with the paper entitled “Legislación en materia de urbanismo”. He travels to Paris and visits the Marsan Pavilion at the Louvre where “La croisiere noire” is on show. This expedition is a further instance of the interest that existed over those years in Europe for the subject of Africa. He develops and landscapes Francesc Macia Square where he finally gives form to the Mediterranean landscape garden.

1927 An exhibition at the Claridge Gallery in London of the “Drawingroom gardens” created together with Llorens Artigas and Raoul Dufy. Vogue magazine publishes an account of it. He gives up all his posts on the “Sociedad Fomento National de Horticultura”. He publishes Diálogos de Arquitectura, his most important theoretical work over these years and in which the contradictions and doubts surrounding architecture in the period are reflected. The polemical debates and controversies of the time in which Rubio plays a main part should not be interpreted as a rejection of the new architecture but rather as a preventive measure against any kind of orthodoxy. He plans a programme of acquisitions of woods and free land on the Collcerola sierra. Rubió was one of the few architects who knew how to assess the meaning of the pavilion which Mies Van der Rohe produced for the 1929 exhibition and he made it known through his contributions to Cahiers d’Art.

1928 He plans the development of Plaza de España Square and the surroundings of the National Palace, sketches of the communication routes and three hotels. Throught the intervention of Josep LLuís Sert, Le Corbusier comes to Barcelona.

1929 He exhibits a project of the Barcelona of the future in the city of Barcelona pavilion at the World Exhibition. He exhibits in the Dalmau Gallery together with Sert, Torres Clavé, Yllescas, Puig Gairalt.

1930          When the Dictatorship had just drawn to a close, together with his brother Marian he wrote Estat Espanyol, Societat Anònima, which has as its sub-title “Reportaje sobre la posición actual del catalanismo”. His desire for a political programme with a wide national scope which would go beyond the limited action of the parties (the original idea of “Acció Catalana”) takes them to defend the federative form found in the “Corona de Aragón”. He returns as a teacher to the County Council’s gardening school. He is commissioned by the Corporation, together with Martorell and Florensa, to carry out a preliminary sketch for the setting up of a “Consejo Superior de Urbanismo” (A Higher Board for Town Planning). The Duke of Alba commissions him to carry out the garden of the Spanish Embassy in London where he re-creates the Andalusian courtyard with all the echoes of the Hispano-Arabic garden. He carries out the urban development of the area surrounding the Plaza de Espana together with Duran i Reynals. He travels to New York where be exhibits the drawing-room gardens. Strongly impressed, on his return he proposes a new ground plan and organisation of the height and size of a block in the “Eixample” quarter in Barcelona.
He translates a part of Montaigne’s essays. Rubio was one of the few writers of the period who could succeed in this task, given his Humanist training, his knowledge of French and Catalan and his style. A regular reader of the “Bernat Metge” series, he eagerly read the texts of Cicero, Tacitus, Martial, Virgil, Seneca and all the Greco-Latin Classics; as well as Llul and Ausias March.

1931 He presents the project “Iberia, capital
federal”, produced together with Ramon
Reventos and his brother Jaume at the
Pares gallery, organised by the Architects’ Association in Catalonia. The “Generalitat” commission him to carry out a preliminary sketch for a Regional Plan of Catalonia. He travels to Berlin to visit the exhibition devoted to building. The many trips he makes abroad (London, Amsterdam, Paris, Italy), some of which are financed by the Corporation, are the cause of the modern initiatives he undertakjes along European lines. He publishes Actar in French, a manifesto-book in which he attacks modern mechanicalism, distinguishing it from the sound balance to be found in Classical architecture with its calm form and the excess of modern reason in Le Corbusier, based on the idea of “movement”, in a desire to put ideas on architecture in order. This essay extends the continuous dialectic between tradition and avant-garde in which Rubio’s work moves.

1932 He exhibits the painted pottery drawing-
room gardens which are decorated with
bonsais in the Syra gallery.
His play, Judas Iscariot, is staged at the Romea theatre in Barcelona. The Councillor for Culture, Ventura Gassol, attends the opening night. Although Xavier Fàbregas does not mention Rubió in his Història del teatre catala, he wrote four famous plays and he has some which remain unpublished in Primer Acto. Together with his brother Marian, he publishes Catalunya amb Europa: Més enllà del separatisme. Written in the euphoria of Macia’s triumph, it speaks of self-determination and of inclusion in the federation of European people, the capital of which could be Barcelona. During the Republic, Rubio has close contact with President Macia who wanted one of the four Rubio brothers to be a member of the Catalan Parliament. He also had connections with Companys although in private he held a critical view of both presidents.
He travels from Algiers as far as the Niger crossing the Atlas and desert in search of the country of the lions. This gave rise to the chronicle Sahara-Niger (Barcelona: Llibreria Catalonia, 1932), illustrated and dedicated to his uncle, Joan. No doubt they were the first to cross the Sahara (in a lorry with the Catalan banner flying). The book is a small essay on the desert, pleasant to read and revealing a great anthropological sensitivity.

1933 He carries out the Metro Goldwyn Mayer
studios and the Llorach house in Muntaner
Street. The Rationalist mode of expression is latent in both these works.

1934 He is a finalist for the “Ignasi Iglesias” prize with his play Midas, rei de Frígia. A play in five acts in which he takes the myth out of power with a strong dose of irony. He publishes El jardin meridional, dedicated to the memory of his master, J.C.N. Forestier; a work about gardening which is as interesting for professionals as for amateurs. It constitutes a display of knowledge and good taste and is the most important book written on gardens in Spain.

1935  He is awarded the “Ignasi Iglesias” theatre prize for his work Un sospir de llibertat, a comedy set against the background of the Carlist wars and in which he makes a skillful and pleasant criticism of conservatism.
Together with A. Florensa and Carles Clavell, he forms part of the jury for the competition called by the Students’ Association belonging to the “Escuela de Arquitectura”. He takes part in the II Congress of Architects in Catalan within the third subject area: “Poli’tica de l’Habitacio” (Housing policy). He also takes part in the competition for the urban development of the low part of the Montjui’c Mountain together with Duran i Reynals. Another hunt in High Gambia.

1936 He forms part of the Commission for Town
Planning belonging to the “Asociacion de
Arquitectos de Catalunya”. His two plays Midas, rei de Frigia and Un sospir de llibertat are put on. Rubio i Tuduri sees again how in the Peninsula “the African roots emerge” and the reconquest of an Europeanised Catalonia is undertaken. The country is no longer a symbol of democracy. A Catalan nationalist and Republican, Rubio travels around the European capitals as correspondent for the Barcelona newspaper Ultima Hora. The social maelstrom and national upheaval which the military rising of 1936 supposed was very far from the Greco-Latin ideals defended by Rubió.

1937 He is sent to Paris by the Propaganda
Comissariat belonging to the Catalan
”Generalitat” as a representative. From there
he starts up conversations with Italy with
the purpose of securing a separate peace for
Catalonia and converting it into a neutral
zone. Negrin discovers the manoeuvres.Rubio’s exile in Paris begins. He earns his living by drawing for thefashion designer Balenciaga, designingje welry for the goldsmith, Van Cleef, or designing medallions and painting watercolours for a shop devoted to decoration.
He frequents Chagall and Picasso’s studios.
He strikes up a friendship with Francois Mauriac.

1942 He marries Montserrat Pla Rosello whom he
had already met in Barcelona in 193 . In Paris they frequently had Nicolau D’Olwer, Joan Rebull and Rafael Tasis at their home. He wrote little for the press in exile: an esay De De l'Atlàntida i Canigó a l'enyorança verdagueriana (Miscellania Verdaguer. Edit. Ragasol, Paris, 1940).

1945 In August, in the company of Josep M Sert, he returns to Barcelona by car. On his return Rubio found he had been ousted from all the posts he occupied in the administration and he distances himself from municipal activity altogether. He contemplates the defacement of many of his works in the city and he is obliged to resign himself to seeing discontinued his work of twenty years’ study, experiment and popularizing so that gardens, parks and squares might take on a much deeper meaning than the merely functional. It was as a consequence of private commissions that he would develop his ideal garden over this second period in the Peninsula and especially in the Canary Islands.
He publishes La Patrie Latine (Paris: Nouvelle Edition, 1945). A magnificent essay which is as readable as a novel on the history of the great Mediterranean north­western arch which makes up the Latin spirit, a particular way of behaving, thinking, living and feeling founded on commerce, the language, the Church and the law. A vision of an open and universal Catalonia.
He works up until his death as a gardening consultant to the “Cubiertos y Tejados, S.A.” company.

1947  He publishes “Le temple egyptien et la
divinite animale” in Cahiers d’Art with illustrations by Marc Chagall. A magnificent ethnological essay on the cultural revelations and architectural structures of the ancient Egyptians. He publishes “Floretes del Desert” in a private edition. Deightful pictures of the Greek and Latin patristic within essential spirit of St. Franciss of Assisi.

1955 Another trip to Africa together with his wife.They travel through High Gambia and the Niger. Over these years he carries out many commissions for public gardens in Madrid, Valencia, Alicante, Barcelona, the Costa Brava and the Canary Islands.

1956-61 He carries out a large number bf public parks, fountains, squares, gardens and open spaces in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. As an improvement in the economy takes place, Catalonia experiences a cultural awakening and Rubio reappears in the journal Cuadernos de Arquitectura where he insists on some of his favourite subjects: the controversy in relation to orthodox nationalism, thoughts on "Brunelleschianism" on "Noucentista" architecture, etc...

1962 He alters the Romea theatre and enlarges the "Casa del Algodon" (Cotton House) on the Gran Via Avenue.

1973 Final trip to Africa.

1975 He travels around the world.

1977 He is given the F.A.D. prize for his cooperation in the new placing of the monument to Dr. Robert in Tetuan Square, Barcelona.

1978 Comissioned by Barcelona Corporation, he plans and carries out the garden in front of the north facade of the “Sagrada Familia” Church, which will be opened six months after his death.

1981   He dies in Barcelona The publishing house called “Tusquets” publish Del paraiso aljardin latino, an outstanding and very beautiful study of the origins and evolution of the garden, from the mythical and legendary gardens of pleasure and happiness up to the Latin garden. The book was written in 1953.