Loft in Madrid
The competition called for the design of a loft, without any other type of instruction or condition. Unavoidably, we referred back to the place where lofts originated, the old industrial building or warehouse from the end of the nineteenth or start of the twentieth centuries in the Tribeca and Soho neighbourhoods of Manhattan.
We considered it vital to find a container for the loft that maintained that industrial reference, in other words, to not opt for purpose-built containers or other alternatives that were among the designs submitted to the competition. However, we also wanted to escape from that originating space referred to previously. We sought a duality between opposites, between the inevitable and for us obligatory reference to industrial architecture from the end of the nineteenth and start of the twentieth centuries, and the spatial surprise that lofts originally provided and that has since been lost.
During that search we came upon the old "Chamberi Water Tower," built in 1907 in a "neo-mudajar" style, which combines an attractive and expressive exterior presence with a sublime internal space. The water tower fitted in perfectly with our search criteria, a shell with an industrial reference, but also with a shape, with a container that was unusual for a loft. It was not predictable.
The internal work focused on the investigation of a spatial structure with a certain character of immateriality that contrasted with the strong presence of the older building. A sculptural design that searched for emotion and tension.