Submitted by Michael Swords

14th Madrid Architecture week kicks off September 29

Spain - Sep 2, 2017 - 17:09   3748 views

The end of September and start of October typically see a range of architecture festivals and design weeks across European cities. These events provide an opportunity to the public to view the work of architects, both from past and present, while allowing access to spaces otherwise closed to the public.

Continuing that trend, the Madrid architecture week will be held this year from the 29th of September until the 8th of October. The event, now in its 14th edition, will be organised by COAM (College of Architects of Madrid) in collaboration with the Madrid City Council.

In this edition, it has been proposed to include Paris as an "invited city", with various organisations including the "Embajada de Francia en España", the "Institut français" and "l’Alliance française" all participating in the festival. During the week, a range of architecturally themed events will take place in Madrid, including exhibitions, conferences, guided tours, family activities and an architectural artisan market.

The inauguration of the festival will take place on the 29th of September at 11.30 in the COAM headquarters.Caixa forum cultural center by Herzog & de Meuron. Image © Rubén P. Bescós

The strength of these type of architecture festivals is the opening up of otherwise closed spaces, permitting visitors to gain an understanding of the work of architecture at a level other than the facade.

During the week, guided visits to buildings led by an architect will permit the public to view a range of over 40 buildings. Some standout exemplars amongst the list of buildings that can be visited during the week include:

Caixa forum cultural center by Herzog & de Meuron. Image © Rubén P. Bescós

This cultural center, which opened in 2008, sits within the shell of a converted power station facing the famous "Paseo del Prado". The CaixaForum was conceived by its architects, swiss studio Herzog & de Meuron, as an urban "magnet", which would attract people both from Madrid and elsewhere.

The removal of an old gas station opened up a public space in front of the cultural center, while the only parts of the power station that could be used was the listed brick shell. The architects developed an almost surgical method to insert the new building into the old shell, separating and removing the base and the parts of the building no longer needed. This created a covered plaza below the old brick shell. The multi-storied building houses the entrance lobby and galleries, a restaurant and administrative offices.

Atocha train station by Rafael Moneo. Image © Landezine

The renovation of the original station was awarded to Rafael Moneo following an ideas competition in 1984, and included the rehabilitation of the historic building, new stations for short and long distance trains, an improved connection with the respective networks and with the metro, and urbanization of the context around the building and the removal of some outdated buildings.

The architect worked with the intention of making it 4 times bigger and getting short and long distance rail network, together with buses and subways. The new building is located behind the old station, which now is the main entrance lobby, which has an impressive 4,000-square-metre tropical garden with commercial area and restaurants.

New COAM headquarters by Estudio Gonzalo Moure. Image © Jorge Crooke Carballal

This project was awarded after a call for ideas by COAM for their new headquarters on the site of what used to be the old Pías de San Antón School, a dilapidated 18th century building.

The rehabilitation of the original building, which sits in the historic heart of the city, was considered as the base for the new proposal. The scheme proposed by Gonzalo Moure created a stratified building organized around a garden, with the public access areas arranged into mezzanines while the offices occupy the upper floors.

"Fundación Giner de los Ríos" by Amid.cero9. Image © José Hevia

A series of architecturally themed events have been organised throughout the week at locations across the city. Family themed events will be run across the weekend. On the 7th of October, an "architectural cinema" screening of the french animation film "Zafara” will be shown at 10:00 in the events space of the COAM headquarters.

In addition, some kids activities have been organised throughout the weekend, and will run on both days from 11: until 20:00 in the garden of the COAM headquarters. Continuing the family-friendly theme over the weekend, a "pop-arq store" will also be held in the garden. This will be an artisan architecture market, with products designed by both architects and students on display.

The festival will also include numerous architectural exhibitions, including "10 years of COAM prize", and exhibition of over 170 architectural projects which have been awarded prizes during the past decade. Coinciding with these exhibitions, numerous conferences and round tables will be held, with themes which support the architectural profession. Debate topics for these conferences include “tactical urbanism” and discussions about urbanism in large cities.

The inscription for building visits and itineraries will open on the 20th of September. You can download the detailed event program from here (Spanish).

Top image: BBVA headquarters by Herzog & de Meuron. Image © Rubén P. Bescós

> via Madrid Architecture Week / COAM