The Needle by Calatrava, or as he says: “The Obelisk” is located at Plaza de Castilla, in the north of Madrid, next to the “Puerta de Europa” towers and the new CT Business Area. It is a present by the Caja bank to the city of Madrid at the occasion of its 300th anniversary.
A large movable sculpture formed by a central tube of steel covered by a skin of 462 bronze bars that can be moved by means of a hydraulic system. The central tube rests on an auxiliary steel structure that spans over the different tunnels and galleries located beneath the square. The foundation elements are three concrete piles with a diameter of 1m.
On both side of the obelisk you can see the twin leaning towers of Puerta de Europa (114 m, designed by Philip Johnson), behind it the Torre Caja Madrid (250 m, designed by Lord Norman Foster) and partly two other skyscrapers (Torre Sacyr Vallehermoso and Torre Espacio, both 236 m)
Recently I was in Madrid. I visited the CaixaForum Museum of modern art: An old power station renovated by the Swiss architects Herzog and De Meuron in 200-2001, shortly after they renovated the Tate London, also a decommissioned power station.
I could crop a selfie from the first photo.
What’s a bit annoying is that the CaixaForum Madrid doesn’t have its own web presence. It is part of the big Caixa Foundation. Caixa is a large Spanish bank. You can find a bit on the Foundations Website, but it’s not much.
This is what the architects say about the impressive buuilding:
A spectacular transformation
The only material of the old power station that we could use was the classified brick shell. In order to conceive and insert the new architectural components of the CaixaForum, we began with a surgical operation, separating and removing the base and the parts of the building no longer needed. This opened a completely novel and spectacular perspective that simultaneously solved a number of problems posed by the site. The removal of the base of the building left a covered plaza under the brick shell, which now appears to float above the street level. This sheltered space under the CaixaForum offers shade to visitors who want to spend time or meet outside, and at the same time, it is the entrance to the Forum itself. Problems such as the narrowness of the surrounding streets, the placement of the main entrance, and the architectural identity of this contemporary art institution are addressed and solved in a single urban and sculptural gesture.
Site Area: building site: 1,934sqm / 20,817sqft; plaza: 650sqm / 6,996sqft
Building Footprint: 1,400sqm /15,069sqft
Building Dimensions: Length 44m / 144ft; Width 37m / 121ft; Height 28m / 92ft
Gross Floor Area: 11,000sqm/ 118,404sqft
When I prepared for the trip I was looking for a hotel with a swimming pool, as Madrid can be hot in September.
I choose the hotel on the basis of a photo like the first photo. I took this photo myself. The first photo is a crop of the second photo. I used a booking portal (OTA) to search and book the hotel.
When you look at the first photo, like me, you are likely to book the hotel if it features prominently on the booking site….When you look at the second photo, like me, You are unlikely to swim in this swimming pool ever with all those eyes that can peek at you from the surrounding high rises.
That is why I post this in the Zen category with the “Nothing Zen” connotation: With all the technique of Internet progressing and helping I still feel strong that you should watch your back and watch out for conman trying to lure you into something you do not want. Lucky for us it was too cold in Madrid to care for a swim and lucky for us the hotel had other amenities that fitted us well during this stay.