Nieto Sobejano in Madrid

The New Barceló


It is very likely that Fuensanta Nieto and Enrique Sobejano are currently the most international partners of Spanish architecture. From offices set up in Madrid and Berlin, their practice operates like a perfectly well-oiled machine, one capable. moreover, of winning twenty or so competitions in the past decade, and invariably with the quality presented in two recent contexts: on the one hand, an Electa publication on their oeuvre, and on the other, an exhibition held at the MAST Foundation in Bologna. Notwithstanding, the projects of Nieto and Sobejano do not always enjoy unanimity, and the recent opening of the Barceló Market is a case in point. The result of a competition won in 2004 whose purpose was to replace a neighborhood facility erected in 1956, and expand it with new uses like a sport complex and a library, the building possesses many of the virtues that characterize the work of the Madrid tandem, such as functional clarity, powerful geometries, and material experimentation. But this has not prevented criticisms at the time of the opening which, besides questioning the scale of the volume and disapproving of the trenches created by the underground access ramp, have zeroed in on the apparently inadequate design of the market stalls, as well as on a series of delays during execution and the budgetary deviations of a project affected by the overall political and economic crisis that afflicts the Madrid City Hall. Only time will tell if this unique construction is bound to become an integral part of the collective imagination.

Included Tags: