Across Spain, an estimated 3.4 million houses stand empty and deserted

Across Spain, an estimated 3.4 million houses stand empty and deserted. DJI Drone Photography Award winner, Markel Redondo, brings a new perspective to the problem. Built in a dizzying rush by developers to exploit cheap loans and favourable government regulations, these modern ruins now litter the landscape.


Sand Castles part II_© Markel Redondo

“There is an apocalyptic feel to the developments, it is as if you are the last inhabitant in the world. We live in a society with huge housing issues, where many cannot afford a place to live, yet Spain has more than three million empty homes”

– Markel Redondo

Spain was one of the countries hardest hit by the European economic crisis. Due to a toxic combination of billions of euros worth of bad loans held by Spanish banks, and a real estate bubble that burst in spectacular style in 2007, Spain’s economy now faces multiple challenges. Sand Castles (part II) aims to highlight this problem from a new perspective.

Redondo first photographed these abandoned developments in 2010. Eight years later, and now equipped with a DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone, he has retraced his footsteps; returning to the same sites and also visiting new ones. For the landscape shots, Redondo always photographed in the same light – early in the morning and late in the evening – and from the same angle. “I wanted to present the developments like postcards, in the way that the developers and constructors would have imagined them, with nice light, but obviously with the feeling that something is wrong.” For the detail shots – houses, roundabouts, roads – Redondo always photographed at the same altitude.


Sand Castles part II_© Markel Redondo

Locations documented for Sand Castles (part II) include: Ciudad Jardín Soto Real in Buniel, Burgos; the Golden Sun Beach Resort in Pulpi, Almeria; the Bella Rotja housing development in Pego, Alicante; Villamayor de Calatrava in Ciudad Real; La Tercia Real in Murcia; Residencial Puerta de Horche in Horche and Ciudad Valdeluz in Guadalajara.

”It is important to understand that this is not an isolated problem; it is something that has happened systematically across Spain. We need to ask why this is still happening and how we are going to fix the problem”

– Markel Redondo

You can view Markel’s photo’s at the DJI Drone Photography Award Exhibition until 18 April 2018 at theprintspace gallery 74 Kingsland Road, London. E2 8DL.

About the artist
Markel Redondo is a documentary, travel and portrait photographer who splits his time between his two bases in Bilbao and Biarritz. His work focuses on social and environmental issues and has featured in publications including the New York Times, Le Monde and Der Spiegel.

A day before he was due to begin a degree at the University of Bolton, Markel decided Computer Sciences did not play a part in his future and withdrew from the course to pursue a career in photography. From Bolton he headed to China where, while studying for an MA in Photojournalism, he worked for a number of agencies, newspapers and magazines. In 2007, he returned to Europe. He regularly collaborates with social-facing organisations and charities, namely the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Greenpeace.

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About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine, a curation of the world’s most interesting culture.