Centro Canalejas

A new emblem for Madrid

From the times of the Habsburgs to the present day, Madrid has prided itself on ist architectural legacy. That's why returning the splendour of yesteryear to its historic buildings is a dream that Centro Canalejas Madrid wants to make a reality.

A History-making project

Centro Canalejas Madrid is now an emblem of the restored heart of Madrid in the 21st century. A unique project that recovers seven historic buildings in different styles to create a splendid complex that will be a landmark of state-of-the-art leisure and tourism. To this end, Grupo Villar Mir, OHL Desarrollos and Mohari are carrying out an ambitious architectural and engineering project whose technical complexity has required a rethinking of certain processes and the creation of innovative  solutions.

A construction challenge aimed at changing the centre oft he city

Recovering a historic building is always a challenge. Recovering seven all at once is a dream that Grupo Villar Mir, OHL Desarrollos and Mohari is making a reality with Centro Canalejas Madrid: an ambitious property development project that combines rehabilitation with new construction, restoring all the valuable architectural and ornamental elements in order to integrate them in the new complex.

From the construction standpoint, it is one of the most difficult building projects ever undertaken in Spain and, unquestionably, the ingenuity of its structural solutions makes it an international reference.”

There are many reasons to say that we are looking at an extremely complex project. First, the location, as it is located in the centre of a large city, the project requires greater planning, agility and restructuring of the space so as to minimise the impact on its surroundings.

But, above all, the need to preserve the seven façades and the main gallery of two of the buildings, as set out in the regulations on protection of historic buildings. A requirement that the development company has fully observed and which involved the use of a unique system to stabilise and prop up the façades on a temporary structure and foundation. To ensure the stability of the complex, an automated topographic control system monitors any swaying of the façades 24 hours a day.

Once the façades were stabilised, the old interior structure was demolished to make way for the start the new construction in a bottom-up and top-down process from the subterranean level on temporary supports until the level of maximum excavation for the definitive foundation was reached. An approach that increases the difficulty of the job but which, in addition to overcoming the technical constraints imposed by its location next to underground infrastructure elements (subway tunnel and parking garage on Calle Sevilla), minimises the execution time of the structure and makes it possible to start other activities on upper floors sooner.

“This is a unique intervention in Europe. Madrid has not witnessed an architectural proposition this ambitious in decades: giving a common identity to seven historic buildings that have been unused for over ten years. ” Carlos Lamela (Architect)

The challenge lay in imposing uniformity on the chaotic and disordered complex the buildings had become as a result of the continual renovations that had unified them with scarcely any planning. To do so, it was necessary to work under two premises: maintaining the exterior configuration of the complex and integrating the hotel, residential, commercial and parking uses in a project with horizontal uses that would reorder the spaces and their communication flows and facilities.

It was a major challenge to achieve the necessary balance between tradition and modernity, both in the façades and in the interior, where the choice was made to locate the symmetry axis in Alcalá 14 to achieve a classical geometric distribution appropriate for the buildings. Additionally, spaces as singular as the old banking hall of the Banco Español de Crédito, which will become the lobby of the Four Seasons hotel, or that which served for a time as the reading room of the Casino de Madrid, which will be converted to one of the main spaces of the hotel, have been preserved.

Source: http://www.proyectocanalejas.com/en/index.html

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