Thursday, November 15, 2012

Madrid "Mews" - Part I

In the English-speaking world, the Mews are back streets or alleys that were originally created as stables of the houses of nobility and middle class, who lived in the main streets. These Mews prevent Lords from the discomfort and smell that came from horses and carriages. This kind of alleys are quite common particularly in London, where most of them have been converted into lofts and design houses that maintain its external looking.

In Madrid, although these "Mews" were not built, we can find some similar examples, old stables or alleys destined for this use that bring us the Mews to memory.

We will begin with two well-known alleys  in one of the main shopping areas of Madrid. What many people is not aware is that what today are fashion shops and expensive restaurants used to be destined to horses, cars and cows of the nobility.

We are talking about the private alley from 12 to 14 Jorge Juan Street and Puigcerdá street from number 2 to 20.

This are the old stables, garages and dairies in the neighborhood of salamanca

Jorge Juan 12 Alley
Puigcerdá Street

Puigcerdá Street

These constructions are dated between the years 1865 and 1875. Its authorship is unclear, but it is the auxiliary buildings of the first blocks of homes in the Ensanche area of Salamanca (José Maria Gomez, Cristobal Lecumberri, Elias Rogent and Luis Ruiz Alvarez, on those same dates), built following the adoption of the Ensanche of Madrid Plan designed by Carlos Mª de Castro (Castro 1860 plan) plan disparaged and forgotten many times, however it has a valuable urban and historic, as well was promulgated by the Ayuntamiento of Madrid on its 150th anniversary, and as it is reflected in many urban books. I would like to give as an example the "Atlas du Paris Haussmanien" Pierre Piñón (edit Parigramme) where appears as one of the earliest European examples of inheritance of the Haussmann Paris Plan (plan that the majority of large European cities tried to imitate somewhat).

Puigcerdá Street end

Jorge Juan Alley

Calle Puigcerdá con Jorge Juan al fondo

The two alleys have different environments, while Jorge Juan's is dedicated to fashion shops, Puigcerdà is plenty of restaurants with terrace in the streets and on the rooftops. Some street musician plays its accordeon. A pleasant experience in the evening.

Jorge Juan Street Perspective
Jorge Juan Street Perspective / Puigcerdá Street

In the picture from below we can see an example of London "Mew":

Peter´s Hamplace,Knightsbridge,Londres

In the next post we will go through another "Mew" from Madrid: "la Casa de Corredor del Duque de Alba"

For more information: "Arquitectura de Madrid: Tomo 2 -ensanches". edit: COAM

In the website from the "colegio de Arquitectos de Madrid" it is possible to find the complete set:

fotos: Manuel Rey/Álvaro Rey
texto: Álvaro Rey

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