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A CONSTRUCTION CHALLENGE AIMED AT
CHANGING THE CENTRE OF THE 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.

 

C analejas is not a conventional project.
Given its magnitude, it is comparable to an industrial
renovation, but in the property field.

Juan-Miguel Villar Mir,
President of Grupo Villar Mir

Centro Canalejas Madrid S.L. is the development company that Grupo Villar Mir, OHL Desarrollos and Mohari have created to carry out one of its most emblematic projects in a long-term commitment in which more than €524 million will be invested.

F rom 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.

Gregorio Díaz
(Technical Director)

 

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.

Want to learn the details of the construction
process of Centro Canalejas Madrid?

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N  o effort is too great in the realisation
of a project in which every last detail is being taken care of.

Mariano Redondo
(Designer)

Evidence of this is the 300-metre perimeter wall to protect the architectural complex which is being constructed in a noble and costly ornamental material, Corten steel. Created ad-hoc by the designer Mariano Redondo under the technical and executive direction of Vega y Serrano, this wall which blends in perfectly with the urban landscape also allows communication of information about the project and protects pedestrians from work that is very intense in terms of the movement of materials and use of heavy machinery.

T his 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.

See the evolution of the most singular spaces

T he most important thing when designing the project
was to find the elements that make up and represent
Madrid to carry them into the interiors.

Luis Bustamante
(Interior designer)

The interior of Centro Canalejas Madrid has to meet the high expectations a project of this nature generates, as it is located in a leading European capital and is the site of a hotel of the calibre of the Four Seasons. With this objective, the spaces have been designed to fit in naturally with the imposing façades and the new interior structure.

The result will radiate a very different personality, infused with a very contemporary classicism, to which a touch of quality is added through the use of very exclusive ranges of materials and finishes: stone, wood and metals. Additionally, and thanks to the integration of many of the ornamental elements recovered from buildings, the entire complex will exude distinction and history.

The project participants
reveal some of the details

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