Ferrovial La ingeniería civil como arte: creatividad e innovación

An architectural marvel of the past

Madrid, Spain

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For a few years, there was no place in the world where concrete came this close to the sky. Not even the city of skyscrapers on the other side of the Atlantic could beat Madrid Tower’s record.

As is always the case with these things, however, this designation didn’t take much time to go to another leader. Still, the tower continued to dominate the Spanish capital’s skyline until Torrespaña was built in 1982.

The Madrid Tower, one of the first skyscrapers in Spain, was built by Ferrovial Construction (Agroman, back then) between 1954 and 1960. Its height was so spectacular that it was even the tallest building in Europe until 1967. In fact, even today, 60 years after its inauguration, it is the sixth tallest tower in Madrid.

Its design, by brothers Julián and José María Otamendi Machimbarrena, is unmistakable. However, only the first of the two Otamendis, who also worked with their other siblings on the Madrid metro’s design, lived to see the finished tower. Standing at 142 meters tall (162 meters with the antenna), it and Edificio España (117 meters high) make up one of the most interesting architectural ensembles in modern Madrid.

Situated at the end of Madrid’s Gran Vía, the Madrid Tower was conceived as a building for homes, shops, spacious shopping malls, a hotel, and even a movie theater. It was a groundbreaking technical feat in its day. As such, it was outfitted with 12 elevators that were the fastest around then, capable of climbing at three and a half meters per second.

After a thorough renovation in 2012, the first nine floors are now occupied by a hotel, and the rest of the skyscraper is housing.

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