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  1. ArchDaily
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  3. Institutional Buildings
  4. Spain
  5. Miguel Fisac
  6. 1970
  7. AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac

AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac

AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac
AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac, © La Gaceta
© La Gaceta

Courtesy of El Pais Courtesy of El Mundo © Urban Idades Courtesy of El Mundo +7

From the architect. Laboratorios Jorba is commonly referred to as the Pagoda because its rotating floors create a shape reminiscent of tiered eaves found in traditional pagodas. Built by Spanish architect Miguel Fisac, the tower stood on the outskirts of Madrid between 1968 and 1999. The Pagoda was a strong example of Fisac’s playfulness and skill as an architect, and a master of concrete.  More after the break.

Courtesy of El Pais
Courtesy of El Pais

Miguel Fisac is recognized as the leader of modern architecture in Spain in the second half of the 20th century. His work spans six decades, and includes the construction of over 300 works in that time. Fisac is also credited with projects in many other design fields such as industrial design, furniture design, urban planning, and painting, but is most well known for his innovative buildings and his fascination with concrete.

Courtesy of El Mundo
Courtesy of El Mundo

In the 1950s Fisac produced an incredible amount of prolific work, and also began his relationship with concrete. This relationship informed many of his most recognizable buildings, including the Pagoda. He embraced the material’s flexibility and saw it as the modern material to partner with his designs. Fisac played with modular concrete pieces early on, which led him to develop the post-stressed hollow concrete beams for which he is most well known. These beams are reminiscent of bone structures and appear often in his work of that time period. Later in his career, Fisac experimented with the materiality of concrete formworks, resulting in new surface conditions in set concrete.  For the Pagoda, Fisac used wooden formwork to create patented pre-cast panels for the exterior, allowing for total control in the form of his design.

© Urban Idades
© Urban Idades

The Jorba Pharmaceutical company commissioned Fisac to design their building in 1965. The resulting Pagoda housed Jorba’s production, storage, and administrative offices within the highly visible tower, and the long base on which it sat. The Pagoda was located along the highway just outside of Madrid, providing the passing traffic with views of the curving concrete exterior.

The tower was made up of five floors, with a base of three floors below. The tower’s five octagonal floor plans shift 45 degrees as they rise, creating the shape that recalls a traditional pagoda.  Within the building, steel columns and the central core with circulation unite the twisting floors.  On the exterior, Fisac’s spectacular concrete panels also unite the floors, which are topped with a pinnacle.

© Miguel Fisac
© Miguel Fisac

The surface of the concrete is marked with the lines of the wooden formwork. The lines repeat and enhance Fisac’s hyperbolic paraboloid curves, which wrap the tower’s shifting floor plans. These concrete hyperbolic paraboloids are shells of concrete which curve in two directions. The panels are rectangular, and vary in size to connect the floors.

© Urban Idades
© Urban Idades

The Pagoda stood outside of Madrid for 30 years, but was demolished in 1999. Its demolition received a significant amount of attention from the public who speculated on the reason the building was going down. The Pagoda was not considered a historic building valid for protection in Spain, and therefore the owners had freedom to do what they wanted on the site. Especially unfortunate was that an elderly Fisac was still alive to see his Pagoda demolished.  Today the piece of land holds a much larger building, using up most of the site’s footprint. The Pagoda no longer stands and is now memorialized through images of its existence, as well as its destruction.

Courtesy of El Mundo
Courtesy of El Mundo
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: Sofia Balters. "AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac" 03 Sep 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/152936/ad-classics-the-pagoda-miguel-fisac/>
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53 Comments

Umano_Estudio · February 21, 2012

The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac http://t.co/OIyXeFzC Otro recuerdo de modernismo español

Alberto Simón · January 10, 2012

@simo_com_es @ibanyarza Y como recién llegado a Madrid, que sepas que aquí ya tenemos experiencia en derribos absurdos: http://t.co/9qCmoLJO

Yahya Abudaiah ? · December 14, 2011

???????? ???? ?? ??? ?????? . ??? ??????? ??????? .. ???? ??? ???? . http://t.co/sHSOAIMC @Aziz_Moh

Al · November 30, 2011

AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac | ArchDaily http://t.co/x04rDwVF vía @archdaily

??? · October 07, 2011

"????AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac | ArchDaily? http://t.co/98wjnwPY ?????" http://t.co/i4MRc7Qy

Isabel Martinez · September 12, 2011

AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac | ArchDaily http://t.co/XuQY3dn vía @archdaily #fisac

M Cotton | A&DS ltd · September 09, 2011

I think the last photo is incredibly sad
http://t.co/iN5O2BX

christianharrup.com · September 09, 2011

I think the last photo is incredibly sad
http://t.co/iN5O2BX

Amelia C. · September 08, 2011

La injusticia también existe en la #arquitectura. Homenaje a La Pagoda de Fisac

http://ow.ly/6lBVB

Santi Maggio Savasta · September 06, 2011

AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac | http://t.co/UfXFI3Z #Architecture #Architettura

Jose Coleman-Davis · September 06, 2011

¿Me pregunto, el edificio que lo reemplazó es tan bueno con fue la Pagoda?

FranciscoVasconcelos · September 05, 2011

AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac http://t.co/wuXUAlZ

PelFusion · September 05, 2011

AD Classics: The Pagoda. http://t.co/QTTRSGL

Nicholas Patten · September 05, 2011

AD Classics: The Pagoda. http://t.co/CfhGtVE

xavier fisselier · September 05, 2011

Beau | AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac | http://t.co/A6LDWtl

Architecture · September 04, 2011

AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac http://t.co/hCdQikm

Yanagi Daisuke · September 04, 2011

?????The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac http://t.co/LaOGeOB via @archdaily

Hon · September 04, 2011

Miguel Fisac&#39s Madrid classic – The Pagoda : http://t.co/ehqXetw

Gordon Barr · September 04, 2011

Never knew it existed at all, but now sad to learn it&#39s gone: http://t.co/gH2awBA via @archdaily

Gordon Barr · September 04, 2011

Never knew it existed at all, but now sad to learn it&#39s gone: http://t.co/gH2awBA via @archdaily

A.C.Id. + LaB-Vi · September 04, 2011

AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac http://t.co/GfJtSBg vía @archdaily

A.C.Id. + LaB-Vi · September 04, 2011

AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac http://t.co/GfJtSBg vía @archdaily

John Joseph Burns · September 04, 2011

AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac http://t.co/CU9LsAZ #architecture

John Joseph Burns · September 04, 2011

AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac http://t.co/CU9LsAZ #architecture

Michal Ziso · September 04, 2011

AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac | ArchDaily http://t.co/5EzZwb2 via @archdaily - nice architectural optical illusion

Michal Ziso · September 04, 2011

AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac | ArchDaily http://t.co/5EzZwb2 via @archdaily - nice architectural optical illusion

papa was a rodeo · September 04, 2011

Never knew it existed at all, but now sad to learn it&#39s gone: http://t.co/gH2awBA via @archdaily

papa was a rodeo · September 04, 2011

Never knew it existed at all, but now sad to learn it&#39s gone: http://t.co/gH2awBA via @archdaily

Daveybot · September 04, 2011

Never knew it existed at all, but now sad to learn it&#39s gone: http://t.co/gH2awBA via @archdaily

Porticodoro SmartArt · September 04, 2011

AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac http://t.co/CU9LsAZ #architecture

jorgemeijide · September 04, 2011

AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac | ArchDaily http://t.co/s1lgOpj via @archdaily

Francisco Rodríguez · September 04, 2011

RT @ArchDaily AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac http://t.co/FhiX6IY #architecture

Greg Shue · September 04, 2011

AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac #architecture http://t.co/Zfk5Fjm

Architype Review · September 04, 2011

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???? · September 04, 2011
Corporate Punk · September 04, 2011

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Erik Joya · September 04, 2011

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Erik Joya · September 04, 2011

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ArchitecturePassion · September 04, 2011

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ArchitecturePassion · September 04, 2011

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Architecture+Molding · September 04, 2011

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Ivan Djordjevic · September 04, 2011

AD Classics: The Pagoda / Miguel Fisac http://t.co/1uNWKA2

Jeriah Lau · September 04, 2011

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Adhie Indreswara · September 04, 2011

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Arquitectura · September 04, 2011

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watabetakahiro · September 04, 2011

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Frederico lucenno · September 04, 2011

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him + her · September 04, 2011

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Archifront · September 04, 2011

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arch_related · September 04, 2011

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GR2TF · September 04, 2011

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Architecture Network · September 04, 2011

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Bocetos Digitales · September 04, 2011

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···

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