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Casa de las Flores (Madrid). Source: Wikipedia.

An emblematic building among the housing collective, and studied in all universities since its construction, La Casa de Las Flores in Madrid is striking both for its architecture and its location. Built in the 1930s and maintaining its original red brick, it is a revolutionary work at the time, and a model for many when it comes to understanding traditional housing in the centre of a large city.

Location of La Casa de Las Flores in Madrid


On the corner where Rodríguez Sampedro and Hilarión Eslava streets meet, in the Chamberí neighbourhood and central district of Moncloa, this unique building stands out due to its shape and materiality, which contrasts with the rest of the neighbouring blocks of flats. The usual practice in residential constructions of the time was a layout based on maximum utilisation in order to achieve maximum profitability. To achieve this, tiny courtyards were used, which would not be permitted under current regulations.


The Casa de Las Flores in Madrid, however, stands as a rebellious dissonance that seeks to be a different and better building for those who live there. It is a proof that, despite the little space left for building in the city centre, it is possible to create buildings with original personality, in which people want to live, because of the comfort offered by quality architecture.

La Casa de las Flores (Madrid). Source:


Architecture of La Casa de Las Flores in Madrid


Construction began in 1930 and was completed two years later, resulting in one of the most representative buildings of rationalist modernity in architecture. It is a milestone, as it defies the municipal ordinance and focuses on creating a building that prioritises natural light, ventilation and the functionality of the building as a whole. Secundino Suazo is the architect who, in collaboration with Miguel Fleischer, achieves these objectives.


Description of the structural form of the building


  1. This building has two hundred and eighty-eight dwellings on five floors in total.
  2. The ground floor has elliptical archways through which you can see the shop windows on the outside of the block and is also part of the porch through which you enter. Something that distinguishes this building from the rest.
  3. It has three landscaped courtyards, each arranged in a straight line, the central one being the largest.
  4. The building, as a total block, is H-shaped, with the housing part being two buildings parallel to each other. The link between them is the stairwell as a bridge. Therefore, the gardens surround all the dwellings and can have a balcony and views to an exterior with flowers and plants, which is the origin of the characteristic name of this building.

The municipal by-laws in force


The construction plan for the Ensanche de Madrid envisaged erecting blocks of buildings that would provide housing for approximately 1,500 people. For this, they took as a reference that each block should have a minimum size of 100x100 and a maximum of 125x125. The exterior perimeter would be built and the interior would be free, thus creating a courtyard, despite the fact that in the first instance it was determined that it should be a block. The flats facing the patio de luces, therefore, were dwellings with poorer lighting and ventilation.

Suazo's challenge

As opposed to the typical creation of the period, with different types of housing, in which some of them end up being of a lower category within the same building, Suazo wants to give light to both the dwellings facing the street and the internal ones, thanks to multiple, sufficiently large courtyards. This homogeneity is also present in the size of the dwellings.

Therefore, Suazo ended up achieving his goal: to demonstrate that, despite the urban limitations, another type of quality housing was possible. The architect did not want there to be better and worse dwellings within the same residential block, but he wanted them all to have good lighting, good ventilation and good health for their inhabitants.


Historical facts about La Casa de Las Flores in Madrid

  • Pablo Neruda lived in one of the houses. It was Rafael Alberti who found the house for him in 1934 when he was made Consul. It is known that Lorca, Cernuda and Villa used to go there to have get-togethers with the poet. The building is mentioned in one of Neruda's poems, which says: "My house was called the house of flowers, because everywhere geraniums were bursting".
  • In 1981 it was declared a National Historic Monument
  • It suffered serious damage during the Spanish Civil War due to the resistance in Madrid and the battles that were fought in the city. It was restored during the 1940s.

Master in Collective Housing UPM/ETH

The Master of Advanced Studies in Collective Housing is a professional and international postgraduate programme that is developed on a full-time basis, dealing with advanced architectural design in the city and housing. It is designed and taught jointly by the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH).


The application period for MCH2022 is now closed. The application period for MCH2023 will open soon.


For more information, click here!

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