In 2006 Madrid´s city hall organized an International Competition to restore two of the buildings of the old Slaughter House of Madrid. Their idea was to transform them into a singular cultural space. This facility was used as a place for killing the animals and store them afterwards with hooks hanging from the ceiling.
Our main idea with our intervention was to recover the old memory of this traditional place in the city of Madrid.
The low budget we had to afford it made us reduce our actions into two unique decisions. The first one was to use a single industrial element, a door, to multiply the functional possibilities of the space. According with their position the main space could be transformed into smaller spaces to celebrate different activities at the same time. The second decision was to recover the brick, (originally covered with plaster), in order to transform the atmosphere of the space. When these two ideas were executed the character of the building was transformed, and the scale and the proportions of its interior were reinforced. A single material and structural feature also reduce the complexity and the cost of the process.
At the core of the concept for the vast space is a system of double-height steel pivoted doors that can be adjusted easily to meet the needs of the user. The battery of doors encloses a central rectangular space, enabling this area to be segregated from the rest of the hall. One possibility is a neutral void that is suitable for avant-garde installation art and projections. When opened, the set of doors connects the central area with the rest of the space, achieving full flexibility.
When the central area is not enclosed, visitors have an excellent view of the old interior of a building whose historical value has been preserved. Existing windows and doors are equipped with the same steel mechanisms, a nod to the larger intervention and a modern adaptation to the slaughterhouse. Steel window shutters can be closed to block the outside environment and to darken the interior for concerts and performances. Displaying a similar character, the main door pivots at its central lateral point, thus becoming a marker that defines a threshold leading to the main space. The chromatic contrast between the converted interior and its monumental brick shell enhances this unobtrusive and elegant backdrop to public events, while allowing it to retain a subtle industrial aesthetic.
The building after the work was finished preserves its value as part of the memory of the city but also incorporates a contemporary architectural intervention that activates the use of a building that used to be dead.
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