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ODonnell 33

Madrid, Spain
1 of 7

This was the first apartment building in Spain that had central air-conditioning, then only available in a few cinemas and theaters and in a very primitive form. Its aluminum carpentry, from the recently established Manufacturas Metalicas Madrilenas, was another novelty, not only for the material itself but also for its typological treatment and dimensioning, still free of the degeneration that aluminum later fell into.

Other elements, later very common, such as the shun, Gravent windows, and Modernfold moveable walls, were used almost experimentally. It was the first building in Madrid to use mosaic ceramic tiles on the facade. An anti-cinder device was designed for the central chimney, and later patented, in an anticipation of the current preoccupation for the environment. It was the first commercial offering with complete kitchen furnishings custom designed, built and integrated, then an inexistent market. All these features contributed to raising attention, interest and prices for the apartments in the Madrid of that time.

The Lot

The building was built on a difficult trapezoidal parcel, with only 10.9 meters of facade and an average of 46 meters of depth. The main problem was how to make the most of such a limited facade. To increase its length, a patio garden open to the street was created. Through a municipal agreement, future construction on the adjacent property had to apply a similar solution, converting the open patio into a benefit for both. The real facade of the building thus became 24 meters long, with two terraces, then useable and desirable, when the air of Madrid was still not contaminated. The recessed terrace was very protected and ideal for the winter. In recessing all the typical floors two meters, the floor that should have been the attic or penthouse became an additional floor of normal apartments, although this was also a benefit, as top attic floors were little valued at that time.

Lightning and the Structure

The lighting design used in the building, in the terraces and the lobbies, offered an innovative and conceptual image of the building at night. The building was designed with the greatest attention and care; all the elements were custom designed rather than mass-produced, including the apartment interiors.

The garage was very large, at a time when no one thought this was necessary, and against municipal criteria that limited it to 500 sqm. It includes the basement and semi-basement and is situated under the building and the interior courtyard of the block. In addition to the entries and lobbies, the mezzanine houses the porter's apartment, storage rooms, and general services, with a machine room unusual at the time for its conception and treatment. The apartments have an area of 372 sqm with large rooms. The reinforced concrete structure is very light and incorporates large spans with daring dimensions and forms such as the terrace shingles and the V-shaped support that forms part of the main facade on the lower floor.

The facade surfaces covered in mosaic ceramic tiles form a light, floating enclosure, like a simple covering. Those of brick, however, form a traditional enclosure that alternates with the openings. A large metal structure in the interior patio make up the facade of the rear vertical communications, a curtain wall with composition inspired in the forms and colors of Mondrian. The building is capped by a large, carefully designed terrace that dominates Madrid, with a small swimming pool and garden, and a floating, permeable horizontal floor with rainwater collection under it, another innovation at the time.

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bostjan, January 25th, 2019
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