COAM Headquarters and Municipal Facilities

International Competition | Special Mention

Madrid. Spain | 2005

COAM. Madrid City Council

Located in the heart of the Chueca district, the Pías de San Antón Schools form a large aedile complex within the bounds of the historic city. Considering the lack of large public spaces, intervention in the new headquarters of the Madrid Institute of Architects offers an opportunity to rectify this defect: the project is conceived with the clear form of a plaza –or a void carved out of a dense material–, that in addition is crossed tangentially by a street connecting Hortaleza with Santa Brígida. The impact is substantial: the square and street offer a new cross path along Chueca which connects the Plaza de San Ildefonso with Recoletos, a new urban route whose geographic center is the new headquarters. 

The COAM Plaza is an empty space which reconstructs and brings up to date the site, establishing a balanced dialogue between buildings and city where the occupied bears a direct relation with the unoccupied. Among its main functions are to provide a venue for social contact and to organize a public access lobby to each building of the complex: the Madrid Institute of Architects, the Center for Architecture Documentation, the Municipal Library, the Senior Center, the Daycare Center, the Kindergarten and the Sports Facilities. It is the public area which expands and widens in certain points, stretching itself to the extent possible into the different lobbies. 

The ultimate goal is to enrich the character and secrets of the city’s labyrinth, to convert the public space into a place of collective identity. In reality, to bring back Battista Nolli and his vision of the eighteenth century through the Nuova Pianta di Roma as an innocent strategy, obvious but true. 

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