Islazul, Madrid

New Centre for Planned Urban Expansion

In the nineties and early noughties Madrid embarked on a vast building programme to provide thousands of new apartments within the City ring. This was done by expanding the existing suburbs with rather-too similar red-brick mid-rise blocks.

One such was Carabanchel, due south of the City Centre and adjacent to the M40 motorway. This 900,000 ft2 retail and leisure scheme forms the civic, social and commercial heart of the new and expanded settlement. The main facade has a civic presence whilst the sinuous 'speed walls' alongside the motorway respond to their context.

The sculptural tower on top of the hill gives it a landmark presence as seen from the both the town and motorway. The curvilinear concept continues into the shape of the streets covered by one of the largest lightweight ETFE roofs anywhere. The streets converge on a very large elliptical space which is the focus of the leisure and restaurant activities, and also the main entrance plaza.