Calle Elcano is a treeless street in the Arganzuela district, close to Madrid’s center, the Reina Sofía Museum, and Atocha Station. For years the zone was taken over by low-rise constructions, carpentry and mechanic shops, warehouses, and other such secondary uses, but in recent time they have given way to industrial-like apartment blocks, in coexistence with more conventional residential buildings.
The site is the second plot on the street, bordered by party walls. The volume constructed is the maximum allowed by urban regulations: a trapezoidal floorplan measuring 22 x 12 m, reaching the edges of the plot, and a height of slightly over 14 m.
The project develops through the section, clearly addressing two basic variables: type and context. Two voids – one double-height, the other triple-height – are created within the building to comply with buildable-volume regulations: a carriage entrance like those of old industrial constructions in the area, now to serve as pedestrian and car entrance; and an opening on the facade to ventilate the garage naturally. The result: 13 apartments, 13 storage rooms, a garden with a swimming pool, and 32 underground parking spaces.
The apartments are organized on contemporary criteria. Continuous microcement floors, dry-joint interior partitioning, floor-to-ceiling windows. The space is fluid, connecting corridors and kitchens to living rooms through large sliding or tilting doors.
The compact volume faces two very different situations: to the north, a street and a series of buildings of an institutional-industrial nature that vaguely engage with the neighborhood’s residential blocks; to the sunny south, a void left by old industrial sheds, now featuring a garden with a pool.