Its characteristic cylindrical concrete forms do not let Torres Blancas Building go unnoticed. Located at Avenida América in Madrid, it is one of the most outstanding projects of the architect Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oíza, a key figure of the Spanish architecture.
Let's read a bit more about this work, the result of a brave idea, so that you can learn more about its history and architectural details.
It was built between 1964 and 1969, becoming a landmark in the skyline of Madrid. It is 81 meters high, which are divided into 23 floors, and it offers a privileged view of the city.
Torres Blancas Building is an icon of organicist architecture in Spain, characterized by promoting harmony between the human habitat and nature. One of the goals of this type of architecture is to give expressiveness to the concrete facades. It was built at a time when tall building towers were trendy, so this is also helped to catcheveryone's interest.
It is an architectural work designed by Sáenz de Oiza together with Fullaondo and Rafael Moneo, who formed a team of architects, and with the collaboration of the construction company Huarte, now merged with OHL.
Torres Blancas Building was at that time an original experiment that turned out to be an icon of the culture of the 60's in support of the avant-garde, which proposed a synthesis of rationalist architecture and organic architecture, completely changing the perception of architecture at that time.
The Torres Blancas Building was the winner of the first edition of the Official Chamber of Architects of Madrid Award in 1972. Two years later, it won the European Excellence Award.
© Nicolás Valencia. Source: plataformaarquitectura.cl
The main construction material of the Torres Blancas Building was concrete. To highlight the beauty of this material, the architect Sáenz de Oiza created a form that looks like the growth patterns of trees: cylindrical shapes arise from small circular forms and ascend towards other cylindrical shapes that await for them in the height.
Continuing with the natural forms, the concrete walls are combined with exterior balconies that represent leaves hanging from the branches. A circular concrete volume is in the center of the tower, enclosing functions such as the stairs, linking the levels or floors. Something that characterizes the balconies is the use of wood and the use of plants that have placed their roots on the facade.
Sáenz de Oiza wanted to create a singular, tall, organically ascending residential building, like an herbaceous complex, traversed by stairways and balconies, like woody vessels that connect the dwellings to the ground.
The tower has 23 floors, mostly for housing and offices. The interiors are rectangular and circular in shapes. The two upper floors have a restaurant and a swimming pool on a rooftop garden.
Regarding supplies, in addition to gas conductions, pipes or wires, it has a food assembly and a garbage drainage conduit. It also has basements with parking spaces and a large lobby.
This majestic building is the result of combining functional, resistant and aesthetic aspects of its structure, while appliying innovative architectural solutions, both in the design and construction of its façade and exterior.
The blind pillars of the facade are elements that support the structure without pretending to be pilasters, the terraces are resistant and harmonious and the interior, cylindrical, has the double function of holding spiral staircases and elevators, while representing the backbone of the building.
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).
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