Buildings In Madrid Every Architect Should Know About

Madrid is home to a number of beautifully crafted buildings. Museums, offices, stations... All these constructions are a huge attraction for architects around the world.
Buildings In Madrid Every Architect Should Know About

Last update: 26 December, 2019

The city of Madrid is one of the most important destinations in Spain. There are buildings in Madrid that every architect should know about and countless examples of interesting architecture. For many years, it has been the science laboratory of modern and contemporary architects, a place of experimentation and discovery.

What’s more, Madrid is a collage of architectural styles. In the city’s old town, you can find stunning buildings like the Prado Museum or the Palacio Real.

This city has seen the construction of experimental and avant-garde buildings. But while many have proved unsuccessful, there are some that have managed to gain international fame. Today, we want to show you a small selection of Madrid’s best-known buildings.

Rather than simply making some sort of architectural catalog of Madrid, we want to show you buildings which we feel are representative of the city itself. The beauty of Madrid is in the diversity of its buildings and public spaces. If you know where to look, you’ll find there’s a surprise around every corner.

Buildings in Madrid – CaixaForum, Herzog & de Meuron

Buildings in Madrid: Caixaforum.

The Caixaforum Madrid is a Social and Cultural Center, sponsored by Caixa Bank. The building is a platform for the sharing of cultural knowledge. It’s a bright, lively place that welcomes all members of the public.

The Caixaforum is located on the Paseo del Prado in the Golden Triangle of Art. Between 2001 and 2007, the building was refurbished, officially reopening on February 13th, 2008. The project aimed to restore one of the last examples of industrial architecture in Madrid’s old town – a former power station called the Central Eléctrica del Mediodía.

The project was lead by Swiss architects Herzog & Meuron. They hoped to modernize the space and put it back on the city’s cultural map.

The new center contains a public square, which sits right at the heart of the city. The center unites both tradition and modernity and offers a wide range of activities and events for everyone to enjoy.

The building hosts art exhibitions, music and poetry festivals, concerts, theater, as well as educational and family workshops. Through it, Caixa hopes to promote cultural knowledge and personal growth among people of all ages and backgrounds.

It’s a truly eye-catching building. It’s hard not to admire the extensive renovation Herzog & de Meuron have completed here, right in the center of Madrid.

To really enjoy the building to the full, you could go to one of the many exhibitions, or go straight up to the cafe on the top floor, where you’ll find spectaculars view over the city.

The BBVA Tower, Francisco Javier Saenz de Oiza

Castellana 81.

This building, now known as Castellana 81, was designed as the BBVA or Banco de Bilbao Tower. Spanish architect Sáenz de Oiza planned and spearheaded its construction.

This building is undoubtedly one that every architect should know about. With his unique design, Sáenz de Oiza won a prestigious design contest organized by the Banco de Bilbao in 1971. The exclusive competition was only open to a small group of professionals.

Castellana 81 was the main headquarters of the BBVA banking group in Madrid until 2015, when the group moved to the BBVA financial city in Las Tablas. In January that year, the BBVA Tower was declared a listed building, making it the “youngest” listed building in Madrid.

Venture into the unknown, and take the path less travelled with a hopeful and determined attitude. 

– Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza

Buildings in Madrid – Edificio Mirador (de Sanchinarro), MVRDV

Edificio Mirador.

This residential building, designed by Dutch architects from the MVRDV studio, breaks with the uniformity of the surrounding buildings. In a neighborhood full of six-story perimeter blocks, MVRDV proposed a 21-story building, which serves as a towering landmark.

The building also serves as a look-out, with stunning views of the surrounding landscape. With 21 levels, the architects decided to set aside a small portion of the building for the benefit of the residents.

This design helped contribute to the creation of public space – an aspect that has become essential for humanizing contemporary cities. The large opening at the center is the “sky plaza”, which serves as both an observation platform and an open-air community garden for all the residents to enjoy.

MVRDV designed their take on modern housing as a solution to contemporary lifestyles, giving residents a flexible and versatile place to live.

So, next time you’re in Madrid, why not stop by the Look-Out building? We promise you won’t be disappointed. However, we should also mention that it is located a fair distance from the city center.

BBVA financial city, Herzog & de Meuron

La Vela.

This large complex on the Northern outskirts of Madrid is home to the new BBVA Headquarters. Work on the building began back in 2009, finishing in 2015.

The building contains the BBVA bank offices, as well as gardens and patios, public services and stores. One of the most notable features of the building is La Vela (The Sail), a huge curving vertical tower.

This tower contrasts with the flat, linear base. The facade is fitted with thousands of slats, which change direction according to the sunlight and add texture to the building.

In this building, there are no individual offices. The 6000 employees work in open-plan office spaces, with plenty of large meeting areas. This layout seeks to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, fostering innovation and agile decision-making.

While some of these buildings are more famous than others, we hope you got a small taste of the quality of the architecture in Madrid. So, if you’re an architect, or you simply have a passion for design, they’re definitely worth a visit.

It might interest you...
A Spanish Treasure: The National Museum of Decorative Arts
Decor TipsRead it in Decor Tips
A Spanish Treasure: The National Museum of Decorative Arts

Ever hear about Spain's National Museum of Decorative Arts? One visit will fill you with the inspiration you need to decorate your home.