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Arquitectura España : Images of Madrid Buildings, central Spain
page updated 20 Nov 2019
Madrid Building Photographs
Madrid Architecture photos by Chris Romer-Lee, Nov 2010 for e-architect
3 DAYS : 5 BUILDINGS_studio octopi in Madrid
Last week we were in Spain for The Madrid Symposium. Following Studioctopi partner James Lowe’s win as one of this year’s ‘40 under 40’ leading European architects, an exhibition of our projects was unveiled at the symposium. James’ duties also extended to a short talk on our Stratford Kiosks Competition win which was warmly received by the international audience.
Here is a selection of our architectural encounters over the 3 days.
Director, studio octopi
Barajas International Airport
Rogers Stirk Harbour+Partners
Arriving at Barajas was one of the highlights to our 3 day visit. The only let down was torturous circulation and flow airside. It would be interesting to know if this was a security concern or just poor planning?
The roof billows, rolling over the varying levels of the concourse below.
The sporadic variation in lighting levels is perplexing. In areas the darkness is oppressive. In the areas where natural light floods in through the louvred oculars, the space is celestial.
Riveting views through cutouts in the floor plate bring a spectacular sense of adventure and celebration to the experience. This is a joyous building pulsating with life. Travelators, escalators, bridges and staircases are interchangeable at various levels throughout the cutouts. It’s a vast building with a bounty of noteworthy spaces, if only the circulation was less frustrating.
Hotel Puerta America
This is an insane yet fascinating project. Each floor from car park to rooftop bar has been designed by a different iconic architect. From Irato Isozaki to Zaha Hadid. This is a smorgasbord of 21st century architectural styles. As with the hotel breakfast, the spread is magnificent. The level of detail is exemplarily which just about rescues this project from becoming a museum of ‘starachitecture’.
Once you’ve seen the lobby (John Pawson)
On the way up in the lift stopping at another floor and the landing is a soft white terrain of amorphous seating (Ushida Findlay).
You want your room, via a physically challenging corridor (in my case by Plasma Studio).
Early evening and its cocktails in the lobby bar (Marc Newson).
Then its downtown in a £500,000 1954 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing or perhaps you prefer the Harley Davidson? That’s of course if you can drag yourself away from the kaleidoscopic car park.
Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia (extension)
Ateliers Jean Nouvel
Words of this font size just do not convey the magnitude of this extension to the Museum. Its BIG, BIG, BIG.
The scale is daunting, the darkness puzzling, the black and red overbearing. However there is a wonderful opportunity to engage with the scale from the roof terraces overlooking the city.
Early Sunday morning and the area of the city around Alonso Martinez was still dormant. Turning the corner, a gently sloping street with broad pavements has been sensitively landscaped. Flush panels of timber, grass and perforated mesh decorate the broad pavement.
The low iron glass skin is so discreet it’s as though the bookshop is open to the street. Instead short mesh ramps lead up either side to the front and back units. Internally white curtains provide a domestic privacy more akin to a private residential reading room. Sheer delight.
Herzog de Meuron
Occasionally one comes across a building that dances evocatively in the street. This Herzog de Meuron phantasmagorical creation is one of them.
The corten crown to the former electricity power station is striking but it’s actually this buildings relationship with the ground plane which is truly magical. The architects have removed the ground floor of the host building and allowed the Forum to float effortlessly over the ground plane.
3 points of contact are all that remain. 2 of which are stair cores clad in black glass.
The third is the entrance to the building. Moving through the cool dark underbelly and passing the surreal water feature thats cascades from the raised street level, the entrance to this building needs to delight.
An underwhelming entrance and the suspense would instantly be lost. Through the doors and a mountainous terrain of stainless steel draws one up the stairs to the first floor.
The triangulated stainless steel floor panels echo the underbelly and plaza below. Overhead a web of fluorescents continues the pattern. Reflections in the steel are mesmerising. With virtually no natural lighting to this floor the results are theatrical. The rich colouring of the timber reception desk, doors and shop joinery act as engaging scenic elements, inviting physical contact and engagement.
There is a mystery, wonderment and joy to this building. There are numerous other delights within this project that I’d encourage you to research. Each space contrasts the other but forms an integral part to the proposals. Variation of form, texture and colour convey acknowledged relationships with the building’s past and more specifically its urban context.
Madrid Architecture photos © Chris Romer-Lee, studio octopi
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