Architects: María Langarita and Víctor Navarro
Location: Madrid, Spain
Collaborators: Gonzalo Gutiérrez, Juan Palencia, Ana Rosales
Landscaping: Jerónimo Hagerman
Client: Matadero Madrid
Completion date: 2011
Photographs: Miguel de Guzmán
Matadero Madrid’s elevated water tower is a singular work: a concrete structure standing 25 meters high and 14 in diameter, located on the southern edge of the new contemporary creation space. The tower, which originally was surrounded by small garden pavilions for workers at the complex, now rests on a lot that has functioned in recent years as a makeshift parking zone and a space for stock and support of artistic activities. This earth-covered area, in which some of the plant species that inhabited the gardens still survive, will, in the near future, cover an underground transport hub and be transformed into a paved plaza providing access to the cultural facility.
The need to refurbish the structure, badly damaged by years of neglect, prompted a decision by the Arts Department of the City of Madrid to study the tower’s strategic position, at the core of future access to the site from the Legazpi Plaza, and to carry out the construction work in such a way that the structure functions as a space communicating with the Matadero.
Analysis of the site and perceiving the deposit as a place rather than an object gave rise to the idea of using the ta’s base in an active way. Visitors, who enter via the wooden walkway that connects Legazpi Plaza to Matadero St., find themselves inside the structure, with an inherited garden. This space harbours a series of plant species that were dispersed across the area, and were poised to disappear as a result of the construction of the future hub. The garden features climbing plants, shrubs and trees: Prunuspisardi, Ficuscarica, Rhustyphina, Parthenocissustricuspidata, Loniceracaprifolium, Aloysiatriphylla, Pergoniumcrispum, Cinerária, Cornussanguínea, Garryaelliptica, Fragaria and Vitisvinífera. These plants and trees were either growing naturally or were planted by workers, and will now be recovered to provide an intimate meeting place.
The project represents a call for reflection on the concepts of restoration and preservation, converting the water tower into the memory and record of a place and a moment, the Noah’s Ark rescuing the flora found in the Mataderosurroundings.