Architects: Ezquiaga Arquitectura, Sociedad y Territorio
Location: Madrid, Spain
Images/text from: http://ezquiagaarquitectura.com/
By the Architects:
Castellana Avenue in Madrid has the character of a real structural axis of the city. In other words, beyond its basic functions as a channel of communication and support for the immediate built fabric, it constitutes a vertebrating piece of the morphological skeleton of the city and a key piece of its mental map, insofar as it brings understanding or order to the city as a whole.The historical construction of the Eje de la Castellana shows that this singular quality is the result of a long and fragmentary process in which initiatives and projects have been decanted around a coherent argument capable of organising the planimetric, topographical, building and functional dimensions of the Via.
The Castellana Prolongation Project constitutes the final episode of this process. It responds, therefore, to the double desire to extend and finish the best street in Madrid and to do so by strengthening its character as the central piece of the city: attractor of the most qualified institutional and tertiary directional functions and, therefore, a privileged space for architectural innovation.
The Prolongation of the Castellana is, therefore, both a project for the creation of a new centrality and an urban reconstruction project, which takes advantage of the opportunity of the obsolete railway and industrial land located in the north of the city to generate a new urban fabric that integrates infrastructure, tertiary and residential functions in a balanced way around the Castellana's main axis.
In the 21st century, the vertebrating character of the Axis as a civic institution cannot be identified with the primitive function of the street as a traffic channel. For this reason, the inspiring argument of the planning is the generation of synergies between an accessibility based on a wide range of public transport means and the new central functions. As opposed to a geometric or merely coincidental compositional criterion, it is the transport nodes (metro and railway) that determine the condensation points of tertiary functions. In a clear commitment to high-rise building with the aim of maximising accessibility and minimising land use for the benefit of the residence, endowments and open spaces.In the "bet" on extending the Castellana, creating a city within the city, Madrid is moving away from the growing trend towards the delocalisation of central functions on autistic campuses in peripheral metropolitan environments and is generating, at the same time, a new space for typological research in which height is not merely an iconic resource but the will to respond intelligently to the organisational demands of the contemporary city.
The arrangement of the Extension of the Castellana responds to a contemporary and innovative urban approach in many aspects among which the following stand out:In the first place, it constitutes an urban transformation and recycling operation that gives value to obsolete railway and industrial land without compromising new consumption of the territory. It strengthens the centrality of Madrid by extending the historical axis of the Castellana towards the north, opening up new space for tertiary and institutional uses of capitalism at a time when ex-urbanisation predominates, that is to say the departure of large institutions and companies from the city limits. It also contributes to the organisation of the entire northern arch of Madrid by making possible transversal communications between Fuencarral and Las Tablas, which until now have functioned as isolated enclaves.
Secondly, the operation is based on public transport, especially metro and suburban rail, ensuring good accessibility with the city and metropolitan area without generating an additional burden of road congestion. In addition, a very varied offer of alternative means of transport to the car, an exclusive cycle lane that covers the entire area, platforms reserved for buses on the main roads and a third of the streets will not admit transit traffic, being reserved for access by residents.
Thirdly, unlike other recent residential growths, the operation is conceived from a mixture of uses. The coexistence of tertiary and residential uses is known in an almost equivalent proportion, but in addition 25% of the available land has been reserved to house equipment and endowments and another 18% to public open spaces. All the land used for lucrative purposes (offices and housing) only accounts for 20% of the total surface area of the area.
Finally, the design has been approached confronting the complexity of the contemporary city by providing three-dimensional solutions (superposition of uses and infrastructures in different planes) that represent a very interesting advance with respect to the usual way of conceiving zoned and two-dimensional urbanism, that is, based on the strict separation of the different uses and functions on the horizontal plane.
The planning of the dwellings also provides novelties with respect to the criteria usually used. In the first place, it assumes greater sustainability requirements, generally requiring the rating of energy efficiency C from the scale established in Royal Decree 47/2007, of 19 January, while strict compliance with the Technical Building Code implies a level D.
Homes and offices are intermingled throughout the operation, so that they do not constitute separate or closed enclaves. The offices are concentrated in buildings of greater height in the knots in which the metro and railway stations converge, while the dwellings occupy a greater proportion of the ground and make up most of the new axis of the Castellana and the space on the underground tracks of Chamartín station.
Secondly, a greater variety of residential typologies is foreseen depending on the different geographical locations of the residence. A more open and flexible layout has been designed in which all the dwellings will have views of the newly created park on the underground tracks of Chamartín station. On the other hand, the creation of a residential façade to accompany the new layout of the Extension of the Castellana is promoted, compatible with a variety of heights and buildable bottoms that avoid the excess of uniformity detected in previous ordinances.
Thirdly, care has been taken to integrate commercially with the dwelling in such a way as to guarantee the presence of a zócalo of proximity shops on the ground floor that also contributes to the use and animation of the streets. Homes and endowments make up integrated units ensuring proximity to the most basic facilities, no home will be more than 300 meters from the nearest school.
Finally, the administrations responsible for the operation have decided to raise the VPP forecasts initially contemplated in the General Plan from 10% to more than 25% of the total housing. This decision, in addition to responding to criteria of accessibility to housing, will contribute in the urban order to a greater social and demographic variety of future inhabitants of the area.