Ten buildings in Madrid with emblematic architecture
Would you like to join us on this tour of the 10 most emblematic and symbolic buildings of contemporary architecture in Madrid? From the impressive Palacio de Cibeles to the innovative CaixaForum Madrid, the Spanish capital boasts an architectural heritage that reflects its rich history and vibrant present.
Take advantage of today’s article to take a closer look at our list of the ten buildings that have left an indelible mark on Madrid’s urban landscape and continue to inspire architects around the world. New constructions that today are among the most important nationally and internationally, as well as many other historic buildings that have been completely transformed and renovated.
Along the way, you will learn that each building is a testament to the creativity and vision of its designers, as well as a testament to the power of architecture to transform the city of Madrid.
1. Cibeles Palace
The Palacio de Cibeles is an eclectic style building that combines elements of various architectural styles, such as neo-baroque, neo-renaissance and neo-gothic. It was designed by architects Antonio Palacios and Joaquín Otamendi in the early twentieth century and is located in the Plaza de Cibeles, in one of the best neighborhoods of Madrid.
This building is important and recognized in the Spanish capital for its rich history and impressive architecture. Originally built as the headquarters of Correos y Telégrafos, the Palacio de Cibeles has witnessed some of the most important moments in Spain’s history, such as the Civil War and the Transition to democracy.
Today, the Palacio de Cibeles houses the headquarters of the Madrid City Council and also has a cultural center that organizes exhibitions, concerts and other cultural activities. In addition, its privileged location in the heart of the city makes it a landmark for visitors and locals, who enjoy its impressive architecture and the breathtaking views from its panoramic terrace.
2. Royal Palace of Aranjuez
The Royal Palace of Aranjuez is a neoclassical building located in the town of Aranjuez, about 50 kilometers south of Madrid. It was built in the 18th century by order of King Philip II and designed by the architects Juan Bautista de Toledo and Jun de Herrera.
Its rich history and impressive architecture make it today one of the most emblematic buildings of the Spanish capital. It was originally used by the Spanish monarchy as a place of rest and recreation during the spring and summer months, as well as being the scene of important historical and cultural events.
The Royal Palace of Aranjuez has an impressive collection of art, furniture and decorative objects that reflect the wealth and splendor of the Spanish monarchy. In addition, its location in the middle of a beautiful garden with fountains, statues and natural landscapes makes it a true oasis of tranquility and beauty.
3. San Lorenzo de El Escorial Monastery
The Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial was built under the direction of the architect Juan de Herrera and is considered one of the masterpieces of Spanish architecture. Its Renaissance style makes this monastery one of the most important and recognized buildings in Madrid.
This building has an impressive collection of art, books and objects of historical value, including a library with more than 40,000 volumes. In addition, its location amidst a stunning natural landscape and its unique architectural design make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Spanish capital.
Today, the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a place of pilgrimage for many Christians due to its religious importance. It has also been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its historical and cultural value.
4. Debod Temple
The Debod Temple is an Egyptian-style building located in the Parque del Oeste in Madrid. It was originally built in the second century BC in Egypt, dedicated to the god Amun, and was donated to Spain by the Egyptian government in gratitude for the Spanish help in the preservation of the temples of Abu Simbel.
This temple is important and recognized in the Spanish capital for its unique architecture, rich history and cultural significance. The Debod Temple is one of the few Egyptian-style buildings that can be found outside of Egypt, and is an exceptional example of ancient Egyptian architecture and culture.
Today, the Debod Temple is a meeting place for many tourists and Madrileños, who enjoy its beautiful scenery and the views it offers of the city at sunset. It is also used as a stage for cultural events and outdoor activities.
5. Metropolis Building
The Metropolis Building in Madrid is located on the corner of Gran Vía and Alcalá Street, in the heart of Madrid. It was built in the early twentieth century by French architects Jules and Raymond Février. Its architecture and French eclectic style make it one of the most emblematic and recognized buildings in the city.
This building is important for its unique architecture and its privileged location in one of the busiest and most popular areas of Madrid. The Metropolis Building has an impressive dome and a 45-meter high tower, topped by the statue of a Greek goddess of Victory, which becomes one of the most representative landmarks of the city.
Today it houses offices and companies, as well as being one of the most emblematic and representative buildings in Madrid.
6. Carrión Building
The Carrión Building, also known as Capitol Building, is an art deco building located in the Plaza de Callao, in the center of Madrid. It was built in the 1930s by the architects Luis Martínez-Feduchi and Vicente Eced y Eced, being one of the most emblematic and recognized buildings in the city.
This building is recognized in the Spanish capital for its unique architecture and its location in one of the most popular and busiest squares in Madrid. In fact, it has an impressive 14-story facade, which stands out for its relief ornamentation and its art deco style, very fashionable at the time of its construction.
Today, the Carrión Building houses a number of stores and restaurants on its first floor, making it a landmark for tourists and locals, who visit and photograph it as a symbol of the city.
7. Kio Towers
The Kio Towers Madrid, also known as Puerta de Europa, are a set of two leaning towers located on the Paseo de la Castellana, in the north of Madrid. They were built in the 1990s by American architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee, being one of the most iconic and recognized buildings in the city.
This building is important and recognized in the Spanish capital for its innovative and risky design, and for being one of the first inclined skyscrapers in the world. Each tower has a height of 114 meters and 26 floors, and slopes outward in a 15-degree curve.
The Kio Towers Madrid are an example of postmodern architecture, characterized by the use of historical and decorative elements, combined with modern and technological materials. Among its construction materials is a glass and steel façade, with a metal structure in the shape of an inverted “V” that gives the buildings their characteristic inclination.
8. Doré Cinema
The Cine Doré is a historic building located in the neighborhood of Lavapiés, in the center of Madrid. It was built in the early 20th century as a theater and was later converted into a cinema, which today is managed by the Instituto de la Cinematografía y las Artes Audiovisuales.
This building is important and recognized in the Spanish capital for its unique architecture and its role in the history of cinema in Spain. The Cine Doré features an eclectic architectural style, combining elements from different periods and styles. The facade of the building, for example, presents a combination of neo-Mudejar and neo-Byzantine styles, with ornamental tile and ceramic details. Inside the building, elements of the Art Nouveau style can be appreciated, with detailed decoration in wrought iron, stained glass and moldings.
The Doré Cinema is an example of how architecture can reflect the historical and cultural evolution of a city. Its eclectic style and historical value make it a place of reference for film and architecture lovers in Madrid. In addition, the cinema’s programming, focused on auteur and classic films, makes it a cultural space of great relevance in the city.
9. Terminal T4
Terminal 4 (T4) at Madrid-Barajas Airport is one of the city’s most emblematic buildings and one of the largest air terminals in the world. Designed by British architect Richard Rogers in collaboration with the Spanish architectural firm Lamela, T4 was inaugurated in 2006 and has become a landmark of contemporary architecture.
T4 is characterized by a functionalist architectural style, which prioritizes efficiency and user comfort over ornamentation and decoration. Its design is based on the idea of creating an open and luminous space that allows easy orientation and movement of passengers. It consists of a series of curved, undulating volumes, clad in glass and steel, which blend into the airport landscape and give a sense of movement and fluidity. In addition, natural light penetrates the interior of the building through large skylights, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
We highlight this building as an example of contemporary architecture that combines functionality and aesthetics in an innovative and efficient way. In fact, its design has won numerous international awards, and has been praised for its ability to enhance the passenger experience at the airport.
10. Caixa Forum Madrid
The CaixaForum Madrid building is a cultural center located in the center of the city. It was designed by the Swiss architect Herzog & de Meuron and its construction was completed in 2008. The building has a contemporary and avant-garde architectural style. The structure of the building is based on a former power plant, which has been renovated and expanded to create a modern, multifunctional cultural space.
The building’s façade is characterized by its rusted steel cladding, which gives it a unique and distinctive look. It also has a vertical garden on the façade, designed by French botanist Patrick Blanc, which adds a touch of nature and sustainability to the complex.
Inside the building, the spacious and luminous spaces stand out, allowing for exhibitions, concerts and other cultural activities. The combination of materials such as steel, glass and concrete, together with carefully designed lighting, create a contemporary and sophisticated atmosphere.
21 February 2023
COAM Madrid, the capital’s impressive new official College of Architects