Antonio Padrón Barrera was born on the island Hierro, the first of december, 1946, at El Golfo, belonging to the municipality of Frontera of the province of Tenerife, Canary Islands. He began to study in 1950 in Valverde. A year later his family moved to Vegueta in the city of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria where he continued studying until he completed his elemental schooling. At the age of 16 he enlisted voluntarily in the army( to fulfill obligatory military service) and at the same time he registered at the José Sanchez Academy to study construction, industrial and topographic drawing, graduating four years later.
He then did his first work in constuction designing at the architect, Antonio Cardona Aragón´s studio. Following he colaborated with the architects Spínola y Trapero, Agustín Juárez y Félix Juan Boordes, Monche Escubos, Valcarce, Eduardo Cáceres Morales, José y Juan Francisco Medina, etc. Later on, around 1967, he went to Madrid to continue his work with Pablo Pintado y Ribas, colaborating in several international projects. Afterwards, during 1968, he returned to Las Palmas from where he later travelled to London. At London he worked on hotels and the project for the new international airport.
Crossing the Channel he went through several european countries, spending time in Holand, returning later on to Fuerteventura in 1969.
ACTIVITY IN FUERTEVENTURA
It is on this island that he colaborates with the quantity surveyor of the town council of Puerto del Rosario, Joaquin Peña Ramírez. He made the first study for a plan of regulation of the city, his objective being the integration of the city itself, new developments and peripheral neighborhoods in one plan. In this way the orientation of city, until now with its´back to the sea, would be corrected. So far there was only a primitive plan of the traditional, historic nucleous of the town made by the Englishman, Miller (1).
In this way he became involved in the planning of the first touristic developments on the island: the urbanisation of los lagos del Cotillo; the first buildings of El Matorral, on the Jandia peninsula; the planning of the area around Castillo, Caleta Fuste, in Antigua; and he also designed several traditional villas working with Ricardo Rubio Rosales. In depth , he starts to show his artistic interests, discovering the creative world of space.
At this point he started a traditional, historic line in his work. He used this knowledge as a base for the development of his imaginative ideas and allowing him to iniciate many adjustments on old buildings, adapting his construction by using more plastic and resistant material.There is a transformation in the use of space and light in current necesities, a change of tradition for modern lines. For example, wooden beams are replaced by concrete ones, giving more spacious forms; the aljibe for water piping; farming homes are substituted by touristic ones; there are greater openings for the entrance of light and heights are reduced; use of masonry and wood furniture. All of which come along with a raise in the cost of labour as a result of the transformation of housing and social evolution because of the population´s higher income.
He began his work as the first tourist promotor around El Cotillo. He personalized his works modernizing the traditional style and creating construction of an avant-garde design, integrating natural elements, adding the use, the structure and the aesthetics as basic factors for the transformation of style. Among the most important at that time is the commonly known as “la casa de los Pitufos”, because it was the last one of this period and it is between La Concha, El Lago de la Cuchara and La Caleta de la Burra at the Los Lagos Urbanization. Only four of the eight houses were finally built leaving the project unfinished and unbalanced.
It was at this time that a number of legal procedures against Antonio began, lasting over twenty years. He was persecuted by the mayor of La Oliva well known by the inhabitants of the north of the island as El Marques, who had also iniciated a campaign of pursuit against all of the promotors on the north of the island, ending in this way a balanced development of quality in exchange of massive deterioration on the north of Fuerteventura. Because of this situation Antonio was arrested ilegally several times and deprived of liberty to leave the country for 12 years. He was finally acquitted without charges.
In 1982, while participating in the first National Congress for Draughtsmen in Benidor, Malaga , he met Cesar Manrique. Manrique gave a lecture about environment and he proposed Antonio as his disciple on Fuerteventura beginning a friendship between the two artists.