This project involved the transformation of the old Mediodia Power Station into the new headquarters of the Caixa Forum in Madrid, and is the work of Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron.
The rejuvenation and rehabilitation work was approached by considering the following action lines:
- Preservation of the building’s appearance, while also maintaining its original geometry.
- Increase the surface area from its original 2,000 m2 to a total of approximately 10,000 m2.
One of the peculiarities of rehabilitation work was the removal of the granite plinth around the old factory, leaving the building suspended over a large public plaza –open on all four sides– and occupying an area of 2,500 m2. The square extends to the Paseo del Prado, the main entrance to the center can be found.
The floor is covered by a structure of concrete triangles which outline different sloping sections. The covered portion of the square also has a false ceiling made of triangular shapes, placed at different angles and constructed from metal plates. Two ornamental fountains adorn the plaza, one of them under the spectacular vertical garden designed by Patrick Blanc. This garden measures 24m high, with 460m2 of surface area providing space for 15,000 plants of 250 different species. It is a wall of plants which can survive without any soil, just needing water and nutrients.
Once inside the building, highlights include the main staircase of the building: the gap widens gradually as it ascends in a mark of engineering virtuosity requiring the use of rubber molds.
A total of 7 levels, two of them underground, house offices, a restaurant which is located at the highest level of the building, showrooms, a shop-bookstore, a 300-seat auditorium, conservation workshops, a warehouse, etc. Next to the adjoining building is the wall of vegetation that acts to lure people into the new building and an important landmark. Designed by French botanist Patrick Blanc, it is the first vertical garden to be built in Spain, which grows on an area of 460 m2, and contains over 15,000 plants of 250 different species.