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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Apartments
  4. Spain
  5. Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza
  6. 1969
  7. AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza

AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza

AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza
AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza

AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza +14

  • Architects

  • Location

    Madrid, Spain
  • Architect

    Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza
  • References

    www.revisioninterior.blogspot, www.spainisculture.com, es.wikipedia.org, en.urbarama.com
  • Project Year

    1969

From the architect. The Torre Blancas is an architectural icon of the Spanish Organicism movement. Designed by Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza and completed in 1969, this exposed concrete tower rises 71 meters above the Madrid skyline. It also stands as one the most complicated and innovative reinforced concrete structures of the era, absent of the typical rectilinear qualities associated with cast-in-place concrete. More details after the break.

Commissioned by John Huarte, the building was originally slated to be one of two constructed. Sáenz de Oiza and his team, which included Juan Daniel Fullando and Rafael Moneo set about to design a tower that would break the typical conventions of residential architecture. 

Completed in an era where numerous Brutalist towers were rising up across Europe, this tower approached the high-rise equation from a different angle. The basic volumes are conceived via cylindrical forms that are further transformed through the superimposition of smaller circular forms. While some of the interior spaces exhibit minimal linear qualities, they are broken up and transformed through the use circular and curvilinear secondary spaces. This language carries out to the balconies, which are semicircular in form and serve to soften the sharp angled intersections of the primary circular volumes. 

The balconies often jog from side to side as they rise, creating an interesting asymmetrical rhythm of massing and shadow play. The main structural typology of the vertical cylinders is exaggerated at the top, where the twelve forms expand to 10 meters in diameter and cantilever out past the main façade. These volumes house the communal portion of the tower, including a rooftop pool.

Departing from the typical column and beam construction method, Sáenz de Oiza chose to highlight the strength and beauty inherent within concrete in a manner that resembles the organic growth patterns of trees. Exterior load bearing walls are laterally stabilized through the exterior balconies, which are reminiscent of leaves hanging off branches. 

A circular concrete volume located within the middle of the tower that contains the main spiraling staircase functions as the ‘tree trunk’ for the floor slabs to connect from exterior to interior. The intrinsic organic nature of the structure is carried throughout all aspects of the tower, even the walls flow seamlessly from floor to ceiling.

Design Development Floor Plans
Design Development Floor Plans

The rawness of the exterior concrete is moderated by the use of wooden filigree screens on the balconies that vary in position relative to the face of the exterior façade. The cantilevered volumes on the top of the tower feature wooden scrims located immediately above elliptical windows. Further softening the exterior are vines and plants that have taken root at the base and begun to climb up the facade. 

Typical Floor Plan
Typical Floor Plan

The ground plane plaza continues the curvilinear typology with round paving stones and retaining walls that rise and dip around the building base. White marble is used extensively for the interior treatment of the floors and walls, which merge seamlessly with the sculptural elements that proliferate the public spaces.

The Torre Blancas remains an iconic landmark to the ingenuity of the modern movement of its era, and was awarded the European Excellence Award in 1974. Its undulating exterior aesthetics remain as equally impressive as the interior, even after more than 40 years of weathering. Sáenz de Oiza’s approach to creating and defining spaces resulted in a design that truly has its roots in the foundation of organic architecture.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: Tim Winstanley. "AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza" 01 Oct 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/157209/ad-classics-torre-blancas-francisco-javier-saenz-de-oiza/>
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28 Comments

Umano_Estudio · February 13, 2012

http://t.co/m0wdTsMI Los lunes toca ver un poco hacia atrás para no olvidar...

gus · January 21, 2012

AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza http://t.co/2TSWZzWp via @archdaily

Nick Channon · January 19, 2012

Torres Blancas - so weird. so orignal. Extremely - Beautiful - wish i had visited. Love the internal http://t.co/XxZESoGe #architecture

Alb García Pérez · January 18, 2012

Nos fascina Torres Blancas, no dejéis de visitarlo si vais a Madrid, y si vivís en Madrid, volver a mirarlas como... http://t.co/lM8uTsVM

david mcgowan · November 10, 2011

First time i have come across Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza http://t.co/maHflBkO The floorplans are very interesting

Kate · October 31, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza | ArchDaily http://t.co/qLUmUR4v via @archdaily

luo wanmei · October 10, 2011

????????????????????????????

Jose Vázquez (Pepe) · October 06, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza http://t.co/e4BV9jZn

Rajan Reddy · October 05, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza | ArchDaily http://t.co/maBpMwlC via @archdaily

salapura salapura · October 05, 2011
Felix Blasco · October 05, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza http://t.co/L7b5CjHa via @zite

Arno M · October 04, 2011

Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza http://t.co/I5BRpEwK The limits of controls by Jarmusch showcases them beautifully.

Stuart Wheeler · October 04, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza http://t.co/AD4b0iO1

Stuart Wheeler · October 04, 2011

How have I never even heard of this!!! AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza http://t.co/xs3b4Qxm

Davide Montanarella · October 03, 2011

#Torresblanas, uno de los edificios más representativos de #Madrid http://t.co/VvoerDu5

Miguel Barahona · October 03, 2011

esto ya es otra cosa AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza http://t.co/7VyTjDtG

Karsten Sinning · October 03, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza | ArchDaily http://t.co/xMdUVnD4 via @archdaily

Agustín · October 02, 2011

That cilindric volumes remind me of Lloyd's Building.

Darwin Mendoza · October 02, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza http://t.co/KO2TKrh9 via @zite

Matt Taylor · October 02, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza http://t.co/2tS2cVk7 via @zite

Travel Writer · October 02, 2011

RT| AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza: Urbarama.comThe Torre Blancas is an ... http://t.co/DDoE4QeK @archdaily

Architype Review · October 02, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza: The Torre Blancas is an architectural icon of the S... http://t.co/BXumWKOc

Robin · October 02, 2011

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Bill Clarkson · October 02, 2011

Via @ArchDaily - AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza http://t.co/MKpgtyzK #architecture

Corporate Punk · October 02, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza: Urbarama.comThe Torre Blancas is an architectural i... http://t.co/m2orUxE8

Greg Shue · October 02, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza #architecture http://t.co/gU9m8K0m

Adhie Indreswara · October 02, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Blancas / Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza via ArchDaily - Urbarama.com The Torre ... http://t.co/wctMjBbl

Adam Waltering · October 02, 2011

Wow, way cool! Being born in the early 80's much of the design of the 70's was all around me and readily available (we were kinda poor). At this point this era is sort of my sounding rod, the style agaist which I compare all others. This building is a prime example of the vision of the era. I love modern "boxes" but this has so much character.

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