Wednesday, September 16, 2009

International Convention Center of the City of Madrid | Manuel Ocana

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Building Type: Convention Center
LOCATION: Paseo de la Castellana. Madrid
PROMOTER: Ayto de Madrid
ARCHITECTS: Manuel Ocaña, and Alfredo Payá Subarchitecture (Bañón Carlos Andrés Silanes, Fernando Valderrama)
CONSULTANTS: José Carrasco Hortal, structures
PARTNERS: Miguel María del Rey Colon, Laura Culiañez, Roberto Gonzalez, Javier Iniesta and Lucía Jiménez Martínez.
Built surface: 69,069 m2

A difficult site. A vast facility behind four colossal towers that rise along the first line of Madrid’s most important thoroughfare. A matter of content and figure of urban scale.

The convention center must have a presence able to interact with those four towers measuring 250 meters in height, ensuring that the whole complex show synergy. The links of dependence of the new convention center with the environment must be hyperstatic, links of kind and polite mutual dependence. The building proposed for the CICCM and the setting in which it is located shall be different expressions of a same common essence. Making reference to Einstein’s Universal Gravitation Law, the new CICCM will be a building that ‘takes hold of’ the space to tell it how it must distort itself; and that space shall in turn take hold of the building to tell it how it must move. The object accepts and thus works with an extreme geometry but is not ‘tied’ to it. It is a manifesto of communication between architecture and its context and between the context and architecture. The convention center and a group of towers that appropriate and pervade one another.

The right measure of courtesy leads to concealing most of the program in a camouflaged building, drawing attention to a silvery, bright star that explodes and blends into the surrounding landscape; a star that from point to point measures as much as the towers and whose cantilevered arms (some of over 100 meters) and compensated by a spiral, have a structure whose horizontal display is as powerful as that of the towers’ vertical one. The star – that will be taken up by the congress area – rests on the building-crater, a sort of partially buried elliptical hangar clad in red volcanic rock that lights up with radial glass clefts and that accommodates the areas for exhibitions and catering. Pedestrian access to the convention center is through the star and this metallic mountain, whereas vehicles access the precinct from above and inside.

Text and images from: Manuel Ocana
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