Barajas Airport


Last week I was in Madrid for 4 days.

It isn’t too surprising that the first piece of ‘local’ architecture I experienced was the relatively new Terminal 4 at  Barajas-Madrid Airport.

Actually completed in 2004 the new Terminal along with it’s associated Satelitte terminal were not opened until 2006.

The terminal was designed by Antonio Lamela and Richard Rogers, and like a number of recently completed airports has an amazing sense of space.

One thing I found particularly interesting once I started researching the airport is that it was the Worlds 11th Busiest Airport in 2008 – something I found hard to believe as it was a virtual ghost town the day I arrived. Though more surprising was the fact that in the last 24 months I have passed through 10 of the top 13 busiest airports!

A couple of side notes:

  • My camera has a panaramic function but no sticthing software (work that one out!) So I searched the Internet and found AutoStitch – which I used to compile the picture above (make sure you open up the full image) The image is actually constructed of 14 photos with the righthand end having two rows of images. I was amazed to fine AutoStitch managed to compile them all together automatically – I didn’t even need to assemble them in a rough order!
  • The architecture of the airport interested me to the extent I wanted to see how effectively I could model it in ArchiCAD with some of the Tools we develop – check out the results here.

Segovia Architecture

Following on from my Saturday morning in Madrid I was taken to Segovia.

Segovia is an ancient village about an hour north west of Madrid, through the mountains (yes through a 3.3km tunnel in the mountains)

The village has an extremely rich history including

  • An amazing viaduct from roman times (Acueducto Roman) built late first century A.D. – 958 metres long, 28.1m high – Declared a national monument in 1884
  • An impressive cathedral (Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion y de San Frutos) begun in 1525 and consecrated in 1768
  • And, an ancient fortress and later a royal palace (Alcazar) built in the 12th century.

From an architectural point of view, the buildings feature a huge array of amazing plaster work. The buildings also feature an interesting anomaly… upside down Spanish roof tiles! The roof is first waterproofed and then the tiles are laid upside down so they can hold the snow…

Herzog & de Meuron in Madrid

The Caixa Forum in Madrid, Spain is a post modern art gallery which was designed and constructed by Swiss Architects Herzog & de Meuron between 2001-2007.

The gallery was built by taking an unused industrial building, hollowing it out and effectively suspending it. Additional floors clad in rusted steel were also added.

The underside is remarkable and obviously hides significant stucture holding the brick clad building up. The negative detailing between the steel and brick work adds to the overall effect of disconnection.

Next to the museum is an art installation of a vertical garden.

Unfortunately I had very little time when I visited so was unable to view the Richard Rogers exhibition inside. I did however get to witness Rogers major work in Madrid – Terminal 4 at Madrid Airport – but that is the subject for a future post.