Text description provided by the architects. The Botín Foundation has established its new offices in Madrid by choosing a 1920s industrial building by the architect Gonzalo Aguado, which was for years the Silversmith workshop of Luis Espuñes and more recently the Vinçon shop in Madrid.
The peculiarity of this building has given us the opportunity to create a reference point. With this in mind, the new project attempts to retain the spirit of the original industrial character, in keeping with the same philosophy of the Foundation, which is a driving force for developing talent.
The principal objective of the architectural concept is that once again, natural light can enter the whole building, which has remained in the dark since its last use. Not only have the infilled windows and skylights been reopened, but also the internal structure has been altered to create a double-height atrium for the use as the main lobby. The direct day light and natural vegetation impose character and personality to this meeting place.
The project aims to reveal the historical changes of the building by exposing the original steel and brickwork; the various alterations in the past; and by contrast, the new construction work whose finishes are mainly oak, steel and glass.
The ground floor is intended for public activities with a flexible but modular, clear open space. There are two movable partitions, one opaque and the other transparent which have four possible positions. Depending on the different requirements of each activity, the space can be easily adapted by the various combinations available. The use of natural wood on the floor and ceiling adds warmth to this area.
The first floor is to be used by the management of the Foundation with a private area for meetings and the spacious, luminous open area, under the original roof structure and the new skylights. The two areas are arranged around the new light well and crowned by a lantern over the atrium.
The solution for the only enclosed space as required by the programme, is a glass box with minimal framework. Free-standing, like a piece of furniture, it does not interfere with the space as a whole.
Emilio Medina García and Diego Varela de Ugarte of MVN Arquitectos, are the Project Architects and they worked in collaboration with Juan Luis Líbano who is the Foundation’s Interior Design Consultant. The contractor was Ferrovial.