Madrid Traditional Architecture and Urbanism Summer School 2015

Escuela de Verano de Arquitectura y Urbanismo tradicionales en Madrid 2015

The participants and professors developed different proposals for urban revitalization and embellishment of five spaces in the Historic Centre of Madrid that were selected based on their potential for improvement. These spaces are comparatively little-used nor enjoyed by neighbours or visitors, mainly due to urban design problems.

The Madrid Traditional Architecture and Urbanism 2015 Summer School took place between the 15th and 21st of June 2015. It was organized by Rafael Manzano Prize, the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame and the School of Architecture at the University of Miami, thanks to the support of the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust. It had also the collaboration of the Madrid City Hall, the Universidad Alfonso X el Sabio, the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, the Universidad de Alcalá, INTBAU Spain and the Centro de Investigación de Arquitectura Tradicional (CIAT).

This international summer school of drawing and architectural and urban design was primarily aimed to introduce participants to the use of local traditions of architecture and urbanism as a tool for the contemporary practice of architecture and urbanism. The participants came from diverse schools, had different ages, various backgrounds and nationalities, and contributed enthusiastically to different revitalization proposals and urban repair and embellishment projects for five spaces of Madrid’s historic center: the Plaza del Carmen, the Plaza de las Descalzas-San Martín, the Plaza de Jacinto Benavente, the Plaza de los Mostenses and the Plaza Santo Domingo.

The five squares were selected according to their potential for improvement, since they are comparatively little-used and enjoyed by neither the neighbours nor visitors, mainly due to urban design problems.

The methodology for the development of the projects was in all cases to study the history and local building and architectural traditions, analyzing the composition of the most attractive public spaces of the urban centre, studying the history in detail of each one of the spaces for intervention, their successive configurations, the elements of which they are presently composed and their current operation.

The analytical fieldwork was accompanied from the first day with a series of short lectures on urban history of the project areas, and of Madrid architectural and constructive traditions. The participants were also thoroughly briefed on the municipal policies for the conservation of the center of Madrid, particularly as concerns the identity of urban landscapes. The lecturers were prominent representatives of the many institutions that collaborated in the activity: Jaime de Hoz (Universidad Alfonso X el Sabio), José Francisco García (Director General of Cultural Heritage and Quality of Urban Landscape of the City of Madrid) Emilio Martínez Vidal (Manager of Planning of the City of Madrid), Rosa Cervera (Universidad de Alcalá), Fernando Vela (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid) and Jean-François Lejeune (University of Miami).

These preliminary studies were thus established as the principal tools for the subsequent planning of each proposal, which were aimed in every case to reactivate and requalify the spaces to be intervened with, whilst always following the principle of opting for that considered to require the minimum intervention necessary. For this reason, the positioning and operation of access to underground car parks, roads for traffic flow, and existing buildings are respected as far as possible, transforming in a well-timed fashion, only what would most contribute to the plot’s objective.

Particularly important urban aspects were considered, such as the preservation of local identity and architectural heritage, the correct spatial definition, and the strengthening of social activity.

The Madrid Summer School workshop was coordinated and taught by Lucien Steil (University of Notre Dame), Frank Martínez (University of Miami) and Alejandro García Hermida (Universidad Alfonso X el Sabio) and assisted by Javier de Mingo. The participants worked in small project teams on the various projects interacting with all three professors: Mamen Muela Amorrich, Irene Muñoz Fernández, Ángel Sánchez Jiménez and Molly Visk were the authors of the Project for the Plaza del Carmen. Maureen Brown, Elena Gallego de Velasco, Joseph Jutras and María O’Connor Nebot, of the proposal for the Plaza de Jacinto Benavente. Jorge Alonso Albendea, David Cobos Pérez, Óscar José García Martínez, Aleksandrina Ivaylova Marinova and Ismael Pizarro Muñoz worked on the Plaza and Mercado de los Mostenses. Alberto Cubillo Romero, Andrea Güezmes Alonso, Žilvinas Klivickas and Inés Mendoza Gutiérrez, in the Plaza de Santo Domingo. And Marina Rivero Pérez, Álvaro Rodríguez de Azevedo, Gonzalo Sánchez Candenas and Jaime Segovia, on the Plaza las
Descalzas and on San Martín.

The studio activities were located in the spaces generously donated by the Biblioteca Pública Municipal Eugenio Trías, in the Casa de Fieras de El Retiro de Madrid. The director, Estela Gonzalo, and all the library staff were efficiently supporting the Summer School with sympathy and professionalism. Without them and their kind assistance, this work would not have achieved such outstanding results in such a short time.

On the last day of the Madrid Summer School the final proposals were presented during a final review to the representatives of the various participating institutions and the interested public. This public presentation was also attended by prominent members of the Rafael Manzano Prize 2015 jury, Michael Lykoudis, Leon Krier, Melissa DelVecchio, Leopoldo Gil and Rafael Manzano himself, who reviewed each of the proposals, applauded the excellence of the work and made suggestions and recommendations to improve various aspects of the exhibited projects.


Carmen Square

Descalzas Square

Santo Domingo Square
Jacinto Benavente Square