International Architecture Awards Tell a friend
Architects: Estudio Guadiana S.L. and Porras La Casta Arquitectos S.C.P. (Porras Guadiana Arquitectos S.L.)
Lead Architects: Lorenzo Fernández-Ordóñez, Arantxa La Casta Muñoa and Fernando de Porras-Isla-Fernández
General Contractor: PACSA+FCC Construcción
Client: Madrid City Council
Civil Servants responsable for Works supervisión: José Luis Infanzón (Director General), Jorge Presa (Subdirector General), Javier Gonzalo and Cristina Pérez (Directores de Obra)
Photographers: Imagen Subliminal (Rocío Romero + Miguel de Guzmán)
This project is the result of an international competition, in which the final decision was taken by the citizens of Madrid through the largest mass participation process in the history of the city.
The urban renovation reshapes and transforms 14 hectares of the urban center. It incorporates more than new 30,000 square meters of underground road tunnels which pedestrianize the free spaces that connect the Royal Palace with Gran Vía, the most iconic shopping street in the city, and its hugely ecologically valuable surrounding parks. With this operation, the area undergoes a profound metamorphosis, bringing together more than 3,000 hectares of parks that were previously disconnected and connecting them into the most vibrant urban heart of Madrid. During the construction works several archaeological vestiges built in the 18th century near the Royal Palace were discovered.
Among them, was the basement of the Prime Ministers' palace, the foundations of San Gil former barracks, and the walls of the structure that contained the land for the new streets built at the end of the aforementioned century. Along these lines, the project develops four strategic ideas that have completely transformed the public space into a monumental environment: Incorporate pedestrian connections where there were motorized traffic streets before. Improve accessibility and spatial continuity between different historical and commercial spaces.
Obtain a completely green junction by planting a thousand new trees, so that the existing parks connect with the city center through new ecological corridors. Modify car mobility by driving the streets at an underground level, safer, less polluting, and above all, away from pedestrians. Generate new lanes for cyclists on the landscaped surface. Recover the archaeological remains making them visible and accessible to the public. In this sense, the project, on the surface, is divided into four areas: The civic plaza, convenient for all kinds of events, next to Gran Vía, a shopping street in the center.
The park preserves the former trees to the west of the civic plaza. Playgrounds for children are set up under the foliage´s shade. Bailén street is a new tree-lined pedestrian avenue that connects the square with the Royal Palace and its gardens and where the recovered ruins that have been found can be visited. Ferraz street is a newly created green area that brings the plaza closer to the “Parque del Oeste ,” which was previously disconnected, so that pedestrians can reach it, without the use of cars.
The project also introduces a number of urban art pieces, three pergolas, and a fountain designed by the sculptor Blanca Muñoz. The urban renovation blends modernity and heritage, sustainability, and ecology with improved mobility, creating an unprecedented place for the pedestrian service at the site where the city of Madrid was originally founded.