El Mirador de Sanchinarro

El Mirador de Sanchinarro, Madrid-Spain, Blanca Lieo | MVRDV
Address: Calle Princesa de Éboli 21 | MADRID | Spain
Latitude/Longitude: 40.4876, -3.65416

Sanchinarro is a residential suburb on the northeast edge of Madrid. Surrounded by highways, with views towards the Guadarrama Mountains. The building was developed as a reference point for the city extension and region at large, as a counterpoint against the massive uniformity of the surrounding blocks. The 22 level building acts as a frame for the distant landscape. The large lookout at 40 metres above the ground provides inhabitants and neighbours with a community garden and a space from where they can contemplate the skyline. The proposal opens domestic architecture to the new city environment and to its surrounding territories. The Mirador contains a wide variety of compact housing types. In contrast to the serial and rationalist repetition of the standard family unit, the housing units are grouped in small “buildings”. These “blocks”, stacked and glued together, make up a new towering “superblock”. It will provide the neighbourhood area with an unusual urban capacity. The 22-storey Mirador apartment building in Sanchinarro near Madrid is a collection of mini neighbourhoods staked vertically around a semi-public sky-plaza which offers views on the mountains. The 165 apartments are divided into a variety of different types of different lifestyles and offer the residents high standards in terms of habitable space, natural light, panoramic views and comfort of fixtures. The building serves as a beacon for the neighbourhood.

The opening of European borders has caused a real estate boom in Spain. Land value has increased enormously, leading to an enormous production of housing. This operation is facilitated in Madrid by giant new neighbourhoods that surround the old city. The architecture of these new cities appears to be rather introverted; compact blocks with small windows surround private patios creating a strong uniformity that opposes the traditionally extraverted Spanish culture.

In PAU de Sanchinarro, one of the new cities situated on the northeast edge of Madrid, two plots are destined to develop a possible “escape” from the uniformity and claustrophobia of this sea of six-story blocks. In the first “escape”, the block of houses that surround an inaccessible patio is “flipped” creating a public patio with a view of the city and the Guadarrama Mountains.

The tower preserves open space needed by the modern city. The large lookout at 40 meters above the ground provides occupants and neighbours with a community garden and a space to contemplate the skyline.

The proposal opens domestic architecture to the new city environment and to its surrounding territories. The semi-public sky plaza is easily accessible with a direct lift connection from the plaza surrounding the building.

This lifted public space is surrounded by different neighbourhoods, a wide variety of compact housing types integrating different social groups and lifestyles. In contrast to the serial and rationalist repetition of the standard family unit, the housing units are grouped in small “blocks”. These “blocks,” stacked and glued together, create a new towering superblock.

The slits in between the blocks act as access zones. They are conceived as vertical alleys. Their transformation along each itinerary agglomerates the compendium of typologies that are structured like small suburbs. It leads to a vertical sequence of stairs, halls, platforms, and streets. It creates a vertical neighbourhood.

It becomes the reference point of the neighbourhood. The allowance for the realization of this building can be seen as a sincere and honest manifestation of Spanish self-criticism, an admirable character trait. Perhaps it is an elementary one, especially for a culture that wants to be open, vivid, and cosmopolitan.



⇒ Architecture Guide to MADRID