Further north, in the Plaza de Cibeles, Antonio Palacios, the architect who gave shape to the first works of Madrid modernity, built the impressive Palacio de Comunicaciones, thus passing the baton to his follower in the post-war, Luis Gutiérrez Soto. La Castellana, in its growth north, shows us the first examples of contemporary architecture, almost all of which are tied to the appearance of the first large Spanish companies, the best-known of which is Banco de Bilbao’s Sáenz de Oiza tower.
History continues and the list would be never-ending, new times come and La Castellana continues its northbound expansion creating the stage which makes new architectural representations possible. Contemporary Spanish architectural history is thus condensed onto an almost 3-kilometer-long promenade architecturale.
In the two Spanish wine regions par excellence, Ribera del Duero and La Rioja, separated by barely a half-day’s journey by car, we find many of the best examples that pair wine culture with contemporary architecture.
Many ambitious projects took place. Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum was obviously the star, but important works by world-renowned architects like Isozaki, Moneo, Siza, Calatrava and Foster, as well as numerous projects by the youngest and most brilliant Spanish architects, were also included.
As a result, there are few other places in old Europe where it is possible to enjoy a concentration of such magnificent architecture. Add to this the that the fact that the beautiful city of San Sebastian is a mere hundred kilometers away by car, a city framed by a gorgeous bay, the plaza with Eduardo Chillida’s El Peine del Viento (The Wind Comb) and Rafael Moneo’s magnificent Kursaal Congress Center and Auditorium, and we find ourselves in an unforgettable petit tour, capable of satiating even the most sophisticated architectural appetite.
Exemplary restoration of the Cathedral, which is “Open for Construction”, has unearthed stonework with a story to tell, allowing us to glimpse the hidden facets of the refurbishment process: a distinct, fascinating visit to this 13th century church-fortress, passing by scaffolding, surrounded by hard hats, giving us access to spaces we wouldn’t normally be able to see. This tour will also help us understand the origins of the city through an unprecedented archaeological display excavated from under the cathedral.
At THE REAL THING, we suggest another three stops on our tour of Vitoria, European Green Capital 2012: namely, the BIBAT, Fournier Naipes, and Archaeology Museums. The Fournier Naipes Museum, located inside the Renaissance Bendaña Palace, is home to the world’s largest collection of playing cards, and the Archaeology Museum, an award-winning infrastructure by architect Francisco Mangado, has 1,500 original artifacts from Álava dating from prehistoric times through to the Middle Ages.
A joint visit where architecture and contemporary projects inspire all kinds of passionate daydreams.
A few years ago, the city government moved Madrid’s ring road underground, below the Manzanares River, which brought to light an unknown landscape. We will pedal from the Royal Palace to the revitalized La Arganzuela district, along a smooth, well-kept bicycle route, to the western edge of the city, offering a unique, relaxed and leisurely way to experience Madrid.
A singular perspective of the city: dare to change your point of view and you will discover another Barcelona.