An Old Slaughterhouse Is Now A Public Cinema Center in Matadero de Legazpi, Madrid

published in: Architecture, Travel By Lauren Del Vecchio, 11 May 2012

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photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

When architects and designers are called in to redesign a space that already exists for a specific reason and their goal is to reinvent that space for an entirely different use, professionals are faced with a duality of responsibility and potential.  In order to respect what once was and bring truth and beauty to the space that is without time or purpose, the task at hand becomes visceral. Questions arise as to how we want people to feel in this space. How can this space envelop the senses and become functional in its new incarnation while retaining its inherent beauty?

These questions emerged when churtichaga+quadra salcedo (ch+qs) architects commenced on their project to turn an old slaughterhouse in Legazpi, Madrid into a public cinema center. Their imagination would become their guide to tie in the past with the present and the raw emotion with the practical. The public cinema center is a huge complex made up of several connecting buildings, housing a film archive, a film and television studio, offices, two cinemas, a canteen and a summer film patio.

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

The designer had the following three inspirations to draw from when creating the design:  The magical backlight and contrast of the films, a childhood fascination with basketry and weaving, and technical human infinite geometries. And as one looks at the finished project, it is easy to spot these three dynamics at work. Dark gray slats of pine wood that shape the walls, ceilings and floors create a clear distinction of the new space from the jagged exposed bricks of the old slaughterhouse. This clever use of materials provides room for both, the history of the old slaughterhouse to coexist with the sleek new design and the new beginnings of a modern cinema center. The marvel is how these potentially harsh and intense materials manage to never overwhelm but look rather Zen and clean.

The dark gray pine wood acts as a backdrop where the designer let his memory and imagination come to life. His childhood fascination with basketry comes alive and influences the lighting as “floating figures” and “huge vibrant baskets” that occupy the open main spaces. The Archive Area is covered by a “permeable basket” that works as a gigantic lamp that one can walk through and on top of. It filters light and is constructed of what seems to be an infinite number of woven orange hoses (actual conventional industrial irrigation hoses). The main room is illuminated in orange by another floating basket that fades into the darkness, with only the black surface remaining when a movie begins playing. In the small projection room, the basket weaves once again through a black space and only when a window opens to let in natural light, can one see the intricate work and brilliant concept at play.

The Matadero promises to be a great attraction and public gathering space, a centerpiece project of an urban renewal effort to bring cultural and art programs to southern urban Madrid.

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

 

photo © churtichaga+quadra salcedo architects

>> The tectonic history of brick and the powerful rhetoric of the old slaughterhouse are the background, and also figure in the scenes of the story, a story in which a continuous low background, a wooden mono material painted in dark gray defines the new program deployed on the walls, floors and ceilings, allowing a clear separation between story and History itself. Against this dark background, my own memory outputs floating figures; huge vibrant baskets that define the main spaces. <<
churtichaga+quadra salcedo architects

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

Details/Credits
Project name: Cinema Center in Matadero de Legazpi
Location: Matadero de Legazpi, Madrid, Spain
Program: Refurbishment and conversion of an old slaughterhouse into a public cinema center housing a film archive, film and television studio, two cinemas, offices, canteen, and summer film patio
Area: Built-up Area: 2.688 m2
Year: Design: 2009 • Completion: 2011
Cost: 4.104.843 €
Client: Madrid City Council
Project bychurtichaga+quadra salcedo architects
Team: Principal Designer: Josemaria de Churtichaga • Project Design Team: Mauro Doncel Marchán, Natanael López Pérez • Building Design Team: Leticia López de Santiago
Others: Contractor: Edhinor • Quantity Surveyor: Joaquín Riveiro Pita, Martín Bilbao Bergantiños • Structural Surveyor: Euteca • Facilities Surveyor: Úrculo Ingenieros Consultores
Images: Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

photo © Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography

sources:

churtichaga+quadra salcedo architects

  • friend
    ioanna | 2012-05-12 11:58:30

    Fantastic!What an idea!

  • friend
    yatzerina | 2012-05-12 12:01:55

    Unique!!!n

  • friend
    Megan | 2012-05-15 04:38:58

    Wow, this is truly wonderful! I love seeing the re-purposing old structures for new & public uses. Que interesante! Megan

  • friend
    petra voegtle | 2012-05-16 13:18:33

    To be honest - not all old structures should be re-directed to new purposes. The aura that still lives in these walls is that of pain, terrible fear and death. Do you really believe that this does not count? Would YOU be able to really relax and enjoy anything with the knowledge that 1000s of living creatures have been killed here?

  • friend
    H.Q. | 2012-05-17 09:13:03

    The answer is YES, I can relax, just as lots of other people can, and just as you should.It's an animal slaughterhouse in Madrid, not a gas chamber in Auschwitz, no humans were tortured or killed in here, they were animals slaughtered for human consumption, these animals where slaughtered to be consumed by us, so if you cannot watch a movie where these animals where killed, then you should not have eaten them in the first place.I do understand your point of course, but the pain, fear and death does exist on every spot on this Earth, dinosaurs have suffered before us, and so did every other kind of creatures at some point in time, but so did humans, so if you want to avoid every place where souls have died and suffered, then you'll end up living nowhere, and believe it or not, not so many people care for the suffering of each other, let alone care for the suffering of animals.And when we're talking about Madrid, remember that we're talking about the city of the Matadors, where bulls were killed every year (or day) for sport, not even for food, and not a single eye twitched, so do not expect from a civilisation with such traditions to even think about what animals felt. The same applies to most of the Mediterranean area (where I am from) and Africa, where slaughtering animals is still done the old traditional way, and not in the "humanised" and "merciful" away-from-witnesses-eyes ways of the west. nnFor me I see it as a good gesture, with bullfighting getting banned in a region after another, and people waking up a bit more to the way animals are still treated in advanced countries (don't even think about the 3rd world, they have enough problems as it is), a slaughterhouse converted into a cinema house might be a way to get the life back to a place where death once conquered, and who knows, maybe now the souls and ghosts of all the dead animals are happily watching their favourite movies! So cheer up! And request the CLOSURE of the currently running slaughterhouses instead, at least in that way the animals that are still alive might get a chance to survive and live longer, instead of crying over the dead ones, which probably have gone through our stomachs already!n Life is just a temporary phase of chaotic chemical interactions, death is the norm, so embrace the dead just as you would do to the living, for it is the same beautiful creature you once new, only in a different state of matter and energy.May every suffering soul rest in peace...

  • friend
    Sergio Henrique | 2012-05-18 03:51:49

    I understand how it may be disturbing trying to relax in a place where sentient beings were tortured and killed in an institutionalized way, even if the context still is the status quo. Under a strict rational point of view, it does not matter whether it is a slaughterhouse in Madrid, a gas chamber in Auschwitz or an American slave ship. In all these cases the subjects were treated exclusively as a means to an end. If you think that the criteria to exclude from moral consideration should be based on species (the common dogma that humans are 'sacred' and non-humans should be exploited), you cannot claim, at least rationally that this 'speciesist' point of view is any different from using another arbitrary criteria such as skin color (racism), gender (sexism) or sexual option (homophobia). The only morally relevant criterion is the ability to have an interest in not suffering or being harmed, and most animals, human and non-human, share this basic interest. Attributes such as intelligence, ability to speak, gender, ethnicity, social class, are all irrelevant in this aspect. Petra and H.Q., I hope you realize that all injustices are linked in some way and that you play an important role to put an end or perpetuate them (it begins with your habits!). H.Q., speaking of 3rd world, I was born and live in Brazil (I apologize for my weird English). I endured difficult situations during my childhood, including famine, but now I live in a comfortable situation, with good education and financial condition. However, I still witness many social injustices, including human slavery next to my city, and they are always related to animal slavery. And if you think you do not contribute to this, remember that our land and animals are exploited to produce meat and animal food for Europe and Asia mainly. I try to not be a hypocrite. I went vegan some years ago after learning about Animal Rights from Human Rights' texts and Ethics. I know that this is only a first step, but an important step. I hope you can do the same, no matter who you are or where you live. Good luck!

  • friend
    matthewnova | 2012-05-25 17:35:47

    Anyone who can compare a slave ship and a concentration camp to a factory farm is truly out of their minds. It makes me sick to think people actually can think like this and offends me so much I barely have words to describe it. It is delusional thinking. Please stop. It is minds like this that allow horrors to happen. Comparing humans to chickens/cattle allows people to be used and treated like animals and killed without regard of their lives or rights. You by lowering humans to the level of animals make murder and slavery much more justifiable to the madmen and women who would kill and enslave. Please stop and think before you put your new age idiocy out into the world. Think about it. If someone gave you a choice and said you had to kill a small child or a chicken or both would be killed. You honestly can tell me that that would be a hard choice. If you do think it would be difficult it is time for some serious therapy.

  • friend
    Martin Web (Beijing, China) | 2012-05-23 13:03:51

    Breathtaking is the only word I have in mind. Spaces have history and in a certain sense, a personality. The design is amazing and unique. I love the idea of recycling a space and transforming it into a different entity than has its own, completely different new personality. The lighting's principle is simple but visually appealing. It is interesting to see that the city is still investing money in old structures, even though the country's economy is not going well.

  • friend
    Sara | 2012-06-01 16:05:27

    Slaughter house into a Cinema hall... very interesting.

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