Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Light in Padres Dominicos Church Madrid

The outer bricks and concrete from the San Pedro Martir Church of the convent Padres Dominicos, at km 7 of NI hides an incredible light and color space.
The bell tower of twisted metal invites to visit the church.

Inside has been designed on acoustic and spatial separation basis. The glass skylight behind the altar creates a unique atmosphere enveloping a place where there is only light and color.

The bricks, curved walls and concrete cylinders where beam light slip disconcert the visitor.

Built by architect Miguel Fisac ​​in 1955, windows of Jose Maria de Labra & Adolf Winterlich, and sculpture by Pablo Serrano (Christ hangs above the altar).
The dynamism in the atmosphere is marked by the sequence of colors, from the blue of the crystals to the white of the metal tubes. After the Choir, the red light gets mixed in a unreal way.

Definitely it is a place that invites you to reflect and where we can feel an "almost a material environmental movement".

For more information:

-Miguel Fisac:Formas de Arquitectura y arte. n13.monografico
-Francisco Arques Soler:Aprendiendo de Fisac.Meditaciones en torno a un trozo de aire humanizado".
-Madrid arquitctura. Edit Munilla-Leria
-Guia arquitectura Coam.Tomo 3, Periferia.
-Madrid 1920-1980. Ramon Guerra de la Vega.

Picture&Text: Álvaro Rey

Chapel Nuestra Señora de la Soledad Madrid

In Fuencarral Street corner to Augusto Figueroa, amongst shops, bars and crowd we can see a small brick building forgotten in the middle of the intense activity of the street.
Some neighbors stop for praying and other few to have a quick look. It is an ancient shrine.

It seems, according to some chronicles (Madoz), that was built in 1712 by Don Francisco de Felogan and Ponce de León, Navahermosa Marquis or, according to others (Peñasco y Carbonero) by La Torrecilla Marquis, who used to live in this place (both of them one side to  and the other in front of Mesoneros Romanos Street)
It was built to keep the image of the Virgen de la Soledad, which existed since ancient years under an arch and lit by a lantern. It used to be an image of great devotion to the locals.

The arch under which was the image could have been part of the stables of the house (of Torrecilla Marquis) than made corner to Fuencarral and Augusto Figueroa street previously named,  not by coincidence, Santa Maria’s Arch Street.

The shrine door is always closed, but you can see inside through the glass door. At night the image is lightened.
This is a simple brick and masonry building, with a large arch to Fuencarral street, an entry and a small window lintel .. The roof is topped by a wooden cornice typical of Madrid. The door and fittings are from the eighteenth century.

Inside you can see the picture of the Virgin (similar to the image of the painting of the Virgin of La Paloma) and a crucifix that seems to be from the seventeenth century Madrid School.
The image became popular because of the professed devotion and the many miracles attributed to it.
As it is indicated in the COAM Architecture Guide, the miracle is that this small historic shrine still exists.

For more Information:
 "El antiguo Madrid". Mesoneros Romanos. 1861.
"Iglesias de Madrid" Pedro F. Garcia Gutierrez / Agustín F. Martinez Carbajo edit: Avapies.
"Guia de Arquitectura Coam-tomo I". Edit. Coam

Text: Álvaro Rey
Pictures: Manuel Rey

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Madrid Metro Engines Building

The headquarters office of Madrid underground: Metro are placed in Cavanilles street, back to a large complex of buildings belonging to the first Metro infrastructure, from the 20s on twentieth century.

The popular Engines Building stands out (nowadays a part of “Anden Zero” museum that also includes Chamberi station included as a post in this blog) Estación de Chamberi.
Antonio Palacios took charge of the building set design, consisting of the power station from line 1, warehouses, underground tanks, cooling tower, offices and chief engineer Villa..
Old Metro Headoffices building
The Engines Bulding has inside a powerful ship diesel engines built by the Sulzer factory in Switzerland (second hand bought in Germany) and transformers, with all the machinery and installation in perfect condition, that used to generate electricity, transformed and drove to the nearby subway tunnels, thus entering the service circuit Electric Range. It is a particularly interesting experience for engineers or interested in mechanical issues, as in the premises are great explanatory videos.

Electric Generator

Generators Set

All framed in a simple and functional spacecraft, but with the unmistakable mark of the architecture of Antonio Palacios: Windows, voids and volumes following the current Central European influences from the Viennese Secession, tiles, ceramic strips regionalist style....
Electric Generator and Scorecard
Metro's original symbol, scorecard and holes in Secession style.
Secession style windows
 Tools oil supplies, pipes, wrenches are mantained ....

 On the façade, brick walls and pilasters, with plinth masonry and metal cover.
Entrada a la Nave de Motores

Fuel tanks are buried.
Fuel Tanks

Another unique element of the building set is the house of the chief engineer, who continues with the european aesthetics of the time, expressionism and secession style that Palacios used to like, showing his great knowledge of style to asessing the volumes according to the plane from it is perceived and strongly influenced by Otto Wagner.
Chief engineer - Valderribas st. Façade

Lantern Entrance to Villa

In front of them, remain a very interesting semi-abandoned warehouses, flamenco style, with stepped gables and with one of the few outdoors original symbols that are preserved.

Gable stepped to flamenco and original symbol Metro

In Cavanilles Street it is annexed the current Metro’s building offices, which clearly breaks the aesthetic.
Metro Headquarters Cavanilles St.

The set is located between Cavanilles ,Valderribas and Sanchez Barcáiztegui street. The museum entrance is in 49 of Valderribas st.. The abandoned warehouses are opposite. 
Anden 0 Museum Enrance

For more information:
-Página web museo Anden 0

-90 años de metro en Madrid. Zamorano, Mohedas, Gallego, Bernal,Muñoz, Touzón,López. Ediciones La Libreria
-Antonio Palacios Constructor de Madrid. Catalogo Exposición Circulo de Bellas Artes
-Guia de arquitectura de Madrid.Tomo 2. Ensanches. Edita: Coam.
-Otto Wagner. Walter Zednicek
-Otto Wagner.edi: H.K.

Fotos y texto Álvaro Rey

Commercial Courtyards II- Gaviria Palace

At 9 Arenal street there is another commercial courtyard, in this case reconverted from the Casa Gaviria Marquis Palace.
In 1846-1851, Anibal Alvarez Bouquel design a Renaissance style Italian Palace.
The rooms used to receive light and ventilation of the inner courtyard, which was been transformed over the centuries by its different owners.

Glazed galleries were created and the distribution was changed to host small shops.
The courtyard is a rectangle, structured with three arches in the smaller side and four in the large one.
The gallery is closed with an iron railing and stained glass pattern of the late nineteenth century.

This gallery was used as circulation between rooms, the main staircase and the servants rooms. The building has had different usages: shops, clubs ...

Nowadays is almost forgotten except for a few gold pawn shops.

Arches Decoration

The courtyard can be visited during regular business hours. Its entrance is on the right of the stairs.

Arenal street façade

For more information:

-Guia de Aquitectura: Tomo I. Coam
-Palacios de Madrid: Tomo I. Ramón Guerra de la Vega

Commercial Courtyards I-Palazuelo Commercial building

The entrance to 4 Mayor street leads into an unexpected courtyard.

The Palazuelo Commercial building was built as commercial and office building in Madrid following the line of the Chicago School. It is a 1919 construction by Antonio Palacios, with two facades, one to Mayor Street and other to Arenal.
The wavy yard distributes premises and is receives light through a window roof that covers the yard.

  Each side of the floor in V  has different sets of concave and convex curves.

Each side of the floor in V  has different sets of concave and convex curves.
Antonio Palacios initiate with this work its general refurbishment plan for the Puerta del Sol and surrounding areas that do not took place. This plan objective was to create an architectural ensemble similar to American style.

The courtyard can be visited during business hours, when shops and offices are open.

Mayor Street Facade

For more information:

-Madrid: Belle Epoque. Ramon Guerra de la Vega.
-Antonio Palacios; Constructor de Madrid. Circulo de Bellas artes.
-Guia de Aquitectura de Madrid. Coam. 

31 Alcalá St. " A Cat on the Roof"

On 31 Alcalá St, from the top of the roof an enigmatic red cat watches over the city.

The roof belongs to the last building from Antonio Palacios in Madrid, built in 1933.
Sitting alone, looks at the skyline,maybe to “Fuente de Cibeles” or to “Puerta de Alcalá”.

It is a XXI centuty sculpture by dEmo (Eladio de Mora).

From its expressionist pedestal , the cat reflects and watches the city.

dEmo Website:

La Venencia

Unique in the world, “La Venencia” is a place where time seems to be stopped, but this is not the only thing that makes this place so special
This tavern from 1920 has a long series of singularities.
The atmosphere of past times, the premises remain unchanged for many years. Is the only place in the world were only sherry it is served (Fino, Manzanilla, Oloroso, Amontillado and Palo Cortado). No soft drinks, beer or wine or other liquor can be taken in “La Venencia”.
The collection of posters from the missing Sherry Fair is so unique that the Office of Tourism Jerez requested for an exhibition (what was refused by “La Venencia” in order  to avoid injury).
The wine is brought by them from Sanlucar de Barrameda and served direcly from their aged barrels.
The premises, a former Goat milk store, remains intact, including the dust from the bottles, between which we can see a venencia (pot to pour the wine out of the barrel).
The current owners, several brothers who take turns behind the counter, have as an unbreakable principle not to alter neither the local nor the environment of the place, that has been transferred to them as it is by its previous owner.

What has changed from previous owner is that today it is a very popular place with a diverse clientele: neighborhood residents, foreigners bohemians, fine wine lovers, intellectuals, tourists, bullfighting critics, hippies ...
Everything there takes you back to other times. The low light, the barrels, the cash register, the old phone, the fireplace...
A cat wanders freely through the legs of the customers and finds the best place in the local.

La Venencia: Echegaray Street nº 17

For more information:

-Tabernas y tapas en Madrid. Carlos Osorio. Ediciones la Libreria.


Picture and Text: Álvaro Rey

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Pasaje del Comercio-Pasaje Murga (arcades)

Between Montera and Tres Cruces Street you can find the best preserved nineteenth-century shopping arcade of Madrid. Built in 1845, is the last testimony in Madrid of the passages in the nineteenth century that became so popular throughout european cities such as Paris, London and Brussels.In Madrid this type of construction had a good development, specially around the “Puerta del Sol”, where we could find in the past, 6 of this arcades and some other projects that were never implemented.

Montera Street Entrance

The “Pasaje del Comercio” was built by Mateo Murga iniciative who was the terrains owner and member of a Basque traders and financial family settled in Madrid, who took part in the reform of the area and in the construction of some sites in Gran Via Street.

It consists of two separate sections covered by an open courtyard with commercial areas where it used to be shops and a popular cafe.
Overall the passage is very aligned with the Parisians ones, for example, the Galerie Vivienne

 The architect Juan Esteban Puerta was in charge of the project that had to replace to the ancient passageway that connected Montera and Tres Cruces through the courtyards of the houses that were there.
This area was becoming a major center of commerce and fashion, to the point that Romans Mesonero compared these streets with Vivienne and Richellieu of Paris, as stated "the population of these streets is exotic (specially in the Montera) and mainly consisted of French”Maybe the Parisian look of the passage is not by chance.

The area was booming construction trade passages, as it says in Romans Mesonero 1861 and the matter of the missing sleepers blacks "will soon become a continuation of the new Tetuan or in an elegant gallery crystals ".

The decoration is attracting for its arches, flat pilasters, columns and vegetables capitals.

Part of the original appearance was lost when the number of floors was increased but overall maintains its original appearance.

The passage communicates the number 33 of the Montera street with the number 4 of Tres Cruces

Tres Cruces Street Facade

Detail of Calle Tres Cruces Door. 1845

The passages start to decline years later, due to the change in consumers and the development of department stores.In almost every city went into oblivion and neglect.Outside Spain, in recent years seem to emerge out of its lethargy and, in part thanks to tourism, but without losing their looks decadent

The Pasaje del Comercio continues oblivion, with a few season, telephone and gold shops. Maybe one day it will wake up.

Detail of Galerie Vivienne. Paris

 For more information:
-"Los pasajes comerciales de Madrid". Carmen del Moral Ruiz ediciones La Libreria
-Guia Arquitectura de Madrid. Tomo I. Coam.
-"El antiguo Madrid". Mesonero Romanos.1861

text: Álvaro Rey
photos: Manuel Rey/Álvaro Rey