Torroja's had already acquired an interest in experimentation and research in those initial years of his career. In the early nineteen thirties he founded Investigaciones de la Construcción S.A., ICON; under his management, the company specialised in testing models as a method for analysing structural behaviour. This enabled him to build large-scale shell structures at a time when there were no reliable methods of structural calculation able to ensure their feasibility. The micro-concrete models for the Algeciras Market and Recoletos Jai-alai Court, both on a scale of 1:10, received particular acclaim. In 1934 he founded the Instituto Técnico de la Construcción y Edificación (Technical Institute for Construction and Building) with a small group of engineers and architects, including José M.ª Aguirre, Alfonso Peña Boeuf, Modesto López Otero, Manuel Sánchez Arcas, Gaspar Blein and José Ángel Petrirena. The ITCE was the first private organisation created in Spain with the ambitious aim of furthering the study, promotion and publication of all architecture- and civil construction-related subjects. The institute met a need for construction research centres in general, since the only other institution in place at the time was the Central Laboratory for Testing Construction Materials, a Ministry of Public Works body founded in 1898 and engaging in research under the aegis of the School of Civil Engineering. The ITCE, which collaborated closely with industry professionals, filled the building construction research gap. This was also the timeframe when Eduardo Torroja, together with Enrique García Reyes, founded the journal entitled Hormigón y Acero, which became a vehicle for publishing scientific and technical information on domestic and international progress in new materials, production, on-site assembly systems, and design and testing methods, as well as their application in contemporary works.




     After the war, Eduardo Torroja focused his engineering activity on rebuilding public works and turned his attention to the potential afforded by electro-welded steel structures. For the first time in Spain, he explored the possibilities of composite concrete-steel structures, the most prominent examples being his bridges at Tordera (1940), Posadas (1940) and Muga (1941). His most outstanding work in that period was the huge central arch in the Martín Gil Viaduct over the Esla Reservoir (1941) whose 209‑m span held the world record for several years.






     In 1939, Eduardo Torroja Miret was nominated by the Madrid School of Civil Engineering’s staff to teach the subject Structural Engineering. From then on, university teaching would be one of his lifetime callings. Over the years, he taught a number of subjects at the school: Properties of Materials and Elasticity, Fundamentals of Reinforced and Prestressed Concrete Design and Construction, Structural Engineering and Structural Typology. 


     But the activity he was fondest of began with the creation, in 1934, of the Technical Institute for Construction and Building. In 1939 this private organisation, initially presided by Modesto López Otero with Eduardo Torroja as secretary and funded at the outset by membership dues, became "associated" with the then recently created Spanish National Research Council, CSIC, thereby obtaining additional financial support. Torroja began to publish the institute's annals, but in those early years it was not particularly active, due to its founder's many engagements: in addition to his academic activities, he was appointed director of the Central Laboratory for Construction Materials Testing, while also devoting a significant portion of his time to his engineering firm. In any event, on the grounds of his scientific and research activities, like his father and brothers Antonio and José María before him, he was named a fellow of the Royal Academy of Mathematics, Physics and Natural Science. He delivered his acceptance speech in 1944.




     A change came in 1945, after the end of World War II, when a pervasive sense of the need for European unity began to materialise in an urge to pool technological development and further and coordinate research and experimentation. This feeling was particularly acute in an industry such as construction, that had become vital to the physical rebuild of a Europe devastated by war. Torroja saw the opportunity to integrate Spain in that European movement and decided to use the institute as a springboard. In 1946, its managers agreed to accept an invitation from the Juan de la Cierva Trust, a National Research Council body encompassing technical and applied research centres, to become a full-fledged member of that institution. In 1948 the new centre, going by the name Construction Engineering Institute, adopted its by-laws and shortly thereafter merged with the Cement Institute to form the Institute for Construction and Cement Engineering, ITCC. Under the new by-laws, the centre was to be managed by a board of directors whose members would be construction professionals and representatives and was entitled to receive financial support from the industry. Torroja was appointed director of the new centre.




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