Mirador is a collection of mini neighbourhoods stacked vertically around a semi-public sky-plaza. The building acts as a counterpoint against the massive uniformity of the surrounding housing blocks. It frames the distant landscape of the Guadarrama Mountains through a large ‘look out’ located 40 meters above the ground. This also provides outdoor space and community garden for the occupants of building, monumentalising public life and space.


Location: Sanchinarro, Madrid, Spain

Year: 2001-2005

Client: EMV del Ayuntamiento de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Program: 18,300m2 housing (156 apartments) facilities and sky plaza

Budget: EURO 10 million



Municipality of Madrid: Best Design in Housing 2005



The Mirador is not a public building and therefore is not open for visits. Your respect for the privacy of the residents is appreciated.                           

Address: Calle de la Princesa de Eboli 13, Sanchinarro Quarter, Madrid.  



The opening of European borders has caused a real estate boom in Spain. Land values have increased enormously, leading to a boom in the production of housing. This operation is facilitated in Madrid by gigantic new neighbourhoods that surround the historic city centre. The architecture of these new cities appears to be rather introverted; compact blocks with small windows surround private patios, creating an isolated experience that opposes the traditionally extroverted Spanish culture.


In PAU de Sanchinarro, one of the new cities situated on the northeastern edge of Madrid, two plots are destined to develop as a possible “escape” from the uniformity and claustrophobia of this sea of six-story blocks. In the first “the typology of houses surrounding an inaccessible patio is “turned sideways, creating a communal space with a view of the city and the Guadarrama Mountains. The tower preserves open space needed by the modern city. The large lookout space, 40 meters above the ground, provides occupants and neighbours with a community garden and a space to contemplate the skyline.


The proposal opens domestic architecture to the new city environment and to its surrounding territories. The semi-public sky plaza is easily accessible with a direct lift connection from the plaza surrounding the building. This lifted public space is surrounded by different neighbourhoods, a wide variety of compact housing types integrating different social groups and lifestyles. In contrast to the mass-produced a repetition of the standard family house, these housing units are grouped into small “blocks” which are stacked and glued together, create a towering community superblock.


The slits in between the blocks act as access zones and are conceived as vertical alleys. Their transformation along each itinerary agglomerates the compendium of typologies that are structured like small suburbs. It leads to a vertical sequence of stairs, halls, platforms, and streets. It creates a vertical neighbourhood. It becomes the reference point of the neighbourhood. The allowance for the realisation of this building can be seen as a sincere and honest manifestation of Spanish self-criticism, an admirable character trait. Perhaps it is an elementary one, especially for a culture that wants to be open, vivid, and cosmopolitan.



Design: MVRDV - Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, and Nathalie de Vries

Design Team: Jacob van Rijs, Ignacio Borrego, Stefan Witteman, Guillermo Reynes, Pedro García Martinez, Gabriela Bojalil, Antonio Lloveras, Nieves Mestre, Marjolijn Guldemond, Fabien Mazenc, Dagmar Niecke, Renzo Leeghwater, Florian Jenewein


Co-architects: Blanca Lleó, Madrid, Spain

Structure: NB35 Madrid, Spain                                                                      

Services: JD & Asociados Madrid, Spain                                                     

Technical architect: Apartec Colegiados S.L. Madrid, Spain

Alternate Text Alternate Text Alternate Text Alternate Text View Gallery
View Worldmap