I love Spain. It’s where I was born and grew up, and I remember noticing how Spanish people loved being outdoors, making the most of their outside spaces, whether in their homes or in the squares or streets where they live. Spanish people like to socialise, a lot – and they have the perfect climate for it. This outdoor style of life means there is a direct relationship between the people and the architecture that surrounds them.
After very little development, Madrid in the 1970s mutated from a small, low-level city into a European capital. The skyline changed, developed and evolved, as we saw more construction and taller buildings being designed with amazing façades, the like of which had not been seen in Spain before. The architecture of the city is an ever-moving beast, with new buildings still being designed and erected, further adding to the complex view over Madrid.
One of the most impressive buildings in Madrid is the Puerta de Europa, or KIO Towers, sponsored by the KIO Kuwaiti company. It’s not the tallest building in Madrid, but it is certainly the most recognisable: two towers, the world’s first inclined skyscrapers that lean toward each other, 15° to the vertical, 114 metres high and with a beautiful façade of metal and glass.
In 2010 a new set of buildings were developed, four of the highest buildings in Madrid and in Spain; the CTBA (Cuatro Torres Business Area/Four Towers Business Area). These buildings are home to a hive of banking and business activity, as well as the embassies of the Netherlands, Canada, the UK and Australia. Its unique design means that from every part of the city the way the building looks is very different.
The buildings, like the Spanish people themselves, are very eclectic; even now, when I go home, I feel the life of Madrid, emulating through its architecture in a way that is particular to this city.