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A guide to Madrid’s must-see contemporary buildings for any tourist

Walking through, the centre of Madrid is like walking through architectural history. As a tourist in Madrid, you will come across gorgeous 18th-century palaces sitting alongside imposing 19th-century buildings, Art Deco skyscrapers, concrete Modernist blocks and 21st-century glass-and-steel interventions.  

However, in the last decades, Madrid has been investing heavily in contemporary architecture. Architects like César Pelli, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Rafael Moneo, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron have transformed the city, with their contemporary buildings.  In Madrid, visitors can find an amazing fusion of aesthetic and innovative architecture. 

Below is our guide to the MUST-SEE Contemporary Architecture in Madrid for any tourist.  

Torres Blancas 

 One of the finest examples of Brutalist Architecture is the Torres Blancas. A tall residential tower designed by the Modernist architect Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza. Built-in 1969, this cylindrical tower was one of the most complicated and innovative concrete structures of its time. It includes semi-circular balconies and a large circular roof, which houses a communal rooftop pool. The building was designed to resemble a tree and rises to a height of 80 metres, creating a cluster of circular shapes that are sure to grab your attention. Likewise, it is known as one of the best examples of organic architecture. For this reason, it was the winner of the first COAM prize, awarded by Madrid’s Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos, and also won the European Excellence Award.

Museo ABC 

In the heart of Madrid, this 1900 building, that used to be home to the Mahou brewery, is now home to a hip cultural space. The building was refurbished by Aranguren & Gallegos in 2011. The six-storey building features an exterior wall of asymmetric glass and steel tiles, which also cover the courtyard, where they serve as skylights to the underground exhibition space. Its interior is clean and minimalist. Museo ABC showcases illustrations, comics and cartoons encompassing more than 100 years of Spanish history from Spain’s oldest existing newspaper, ABC. The museum showcases nearly 200,000 works from all around the country. This museum is truly a great example of Madrid’s contemporary architecture.   

Santa Ana church 

Spain is a dominantly Catholic country, hence there are many churches in each region, especially in the capital, Madrid. One church that stands out the most for its contemporary architecture is the Santa Ana church. This modern church was designed by Miguel Fisac who was one of the boldest Spanish Modernist architects and experimented with concrete at Santa Ana, creating curved organic shapes and a cave-like feel.  The complex is made up of two independent buildings: the church, and the daily chapel. Moreover, the ribbed concrete roof mirrors, which allow the natural light to fall on the church’s altar and illuminate the space. It is one of the most modern churches we have ever come across as it is a very contemporary building.   

CaixaForum Madrid Museum 

CaixaForum Madrid is a museum and cultural center in Paseo del Prado 36, Madrid. It is sponsored by Caixa Bank. It was an old power station called Central Del Mediodía, from 1900 transformed into a beautiful museum. It was designed by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and built by Ferrovial between 2001 and 2007. The building is most known, for its avant-garde Vertical Garden outside the museum, which is made up of 15,000 plants and brings a sense of freshness and naturalism to the urban city. The interior of the building is very minimalist with wide white spaces and staircases. Hence, making it a beautiful location to enjoy contemporary architecture in Madrid. The CaixaForum Madrid Museum regularly hosts various exhibitions ranging from Greek mythology to music festivals.  

 Mirador Sanchinarro 

The Mirador Building is a postmodern architecture building that can be found in the Sanchinarro neighbourhood, in the north of the city of Madrid. Sanchinarro is a residential suburb on the northeast edge of Madrid. Surrounded by highways, with views towards the Guadarrama Mountains. Mirador is a collection of mini neighbourhoods stacked vertically, with a striking orange exterior.  Furthermore, it encompasses It includes 156 homes an outdoor space and community garden for the residents of the building and has breathtaking views of the city and the Guadarrama Mountains beyond   The building was developed by the Dutch architecture studio MVRDV in collaboration with the Madrid-based architect Blanca Lleó, and completed in 2005.  A truly amazing piece of modern architecture in Madrid.  

Conclusion  

Madrid is full of remarkable inspiring architectural sites, from Roman ruins to edgy modern designs. In the capital of Spain, there is a vast number of architectural styles that make up the city’s urban landscape, buildings and monuments from different eras that coexist in harmony.  

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