Project concept This museum project for Fundación Telefónica, the cultural institution of Spain’s largest telephone company, occupies four floors in the historic Telefónica Building at the top of Madrid’s most central street, the Gran Via. The physical separation of the reclaimed spaces on the second, third and fourth floors of the old building for use as gallery and the entry space at street level generated the central focus of project: a prominent, cohesive circulation path that connects all galleries and cultural spaces on the upper floors to one another and to the street. Two and a half quadrants of the structural grid abutting the façade saw their existing floor plates demolished to create a vertical atrium into which a large spiral staircase was inserted. The staircase weaves through an organic,
sculptural form which serves simultaneously as lateral‐load bracing for the building’s façade (necessary after the removal of the floor slabs) and dead‐load support for the stair helix. A high‐capacity glass elevator completes the vertical circulation nucleus. The sculptural armature supporting both stair and façade stitches together the old building’s structural frame, transferring all dead and live loads from the stair and façade to the buildings remaining structural frame, obviating the need to create additional foundation. The new structure is rendered in Core‐Ten steel, emphatically contrasting with the metallic paint finishing of the old structure of composite columns of various rolled shapes riveted to one another. The new stair functions as an evacuation route, resolving one of the greatest
issues associated with the change of use of the building from industrial space to one of public access, amplifying radically the occupant load for the purpose of evacuation. In case of emergency, it is rendered fire‐safe and protected by means of sprinkler‐bathed curtains which drop and seal off each of its spacious openings to the galleries. The galleries take their form from the shape of the Telefónica Building. In these spaces the floors were stripped of everything non‐essential to the original structure. Columns were left exposed and the ceiling covered with a suspended metal mesh. The spaces left bare both reveal the beauty of the original riveted‐steel structure from the 1920s and allow for the maximum freedom for exhibit‐specific installations. On the second floor, four enormous motorized sliding doors allow the auditorium to open up to the neighboring gallery, making it a far more versatile space. Although the semi‐circular plan shape remained unchanged, the interior finishes were completely redone. Exposed installation wind about simultaneously forming a virtual dropped ceiling and allowing an appreciation of the raw space’s true height. The upholstered auditorium seat backs fold down into their bases to form a continuous bench, again adding to the space’s versatility. Moneo Brock Studio Moneo Brock Studio is an architecture firm characterized by the intensity of its design focus. The Studio's principals, Belén Moneo (Harvard, 1988) and Jeff Brock (Princeton, 1985), formed their professional partnership in 1993 in New York City after receiving their Masters of Architecture from Columbia University’s GSAPP in 1991. Over the course of its 22‐year history, the team has completed architectural projects ranging in scale from large public buildings (Columbia University Science Building), spas (Thermal Baths in Panticosa), to high‐end privet interiors (Hudson Street Loft), and has designed furniture, packaging (Ham Case and lamp) and bathroom fixtures (Frontalis Roca) for industrial production. Moneo and Brock are primarily design architects, with broad experience collaborating with larger firms in the production and coordination of architectural designs from conceptualization through construction completion. The firm opened its principal office in Madrid, Spain, in 2002.