Client The British Council
Location Madrid, Spain
1993 Madrid City Award for Restoration
Listed by the Government of Spain as a building of major architectural and historic importance, the British Council in Madrid is located in a former Palacette that had suffered many years of neglect. The practice has meticulously restored the building to match the original splendour of the Palacette, which comprises an arts centre, teaching facilities and offices.
The design provides an enhanced physical environment and resolves circulation problems by successfully strengthening movement between the new and existing buildings. A new contemporary arts building has been separated from the rear of the Palacate, which is accessed by its own entrance doors, and by a frameless glass link.
A new internal stair is crowned by a dramatic elliptical rooflight that forms the focus of the building, enhancing daylighting, movement and passive ventilation. Solar gain is tempered by a sculptural, rotating fabric diaphragm under the rooflight. The stucco façade and timber windows have been restored using authentic materials to match the original details to provide a stunning headquarters for the British Council.