This was the very first self-service establishment in Madrid. It consisted of the total renovation of three floors of an old building and the total replacement of the frame structure with metal. This was an integrated architectural, decoration, and furnishing project.

A six-story apartment building was partially renovated on the ground floor, basement, and first floor to install Madrid’s first self-service store. It was a complex and risky operation due to the delicate state of the structure and the fact that during the construction, the building remained occupied by its tenants.

The structure was a vertical wood frame—heavily affected by woodworm to the point that it no longer existed in some sections— filled with plaster, pine beams and lightened with unfamiliar ceramic arches. There were also a few cast iron pillars used in previous renovations, an odd metal beam and deep cracks from top to bottom caused by vertical and horizontal structural movements. The building’s deficient plumbing system had produced damp and consequently rotting structural items. Resistant structural elements were totally ruined, and the sewage pipes had an irregular, almost humorous, organization due to successive additions.

Another serious problem was the adaptation of the new plumbing system and the building’s staircase, which could not be blocked at all as all the apartments were permanently inhabited, which caused a highly complex situation for the works logistics. More than 400 workers were employed daily on this 1,750 sqm renovation site, in three day-and-night shifts due to the dangerous nature of the operation.

Essentially, a totally new construction was built beneath the old, inhabited building by using a complex metal structure to maximize the uninterrupted span. The first floor was designed with a transition unit that used its structural components on the façade to achieve a rhythm of abundant vertical openings, a traditional invariable in this district.

The establishment projected the image of a large display case, the actual supermarket, with an average depth of 37 m, colonnades forming a pre-street space and an upper level that emphasizes the façade as a point of attraction.


localizacion Madrid - Spain
cliente Vicencio Alonso Martínez
extension 1,500 sqm (solar 5,500 sqm)
fecha 1958 - 1959

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