Our roving correspondent, architect Iker Gil of MAS Studio, brings to our attention this striking building in Madrid . . .
which, of course, puts us in mind of a slightly taller Chicago variant, Studio/Gang Architect's Aqua tower.
The Madrid building, Edificio en la M-30, is actually a retrofit, by the firm of Jerónimo Junquera-Liliana Obal, of an existing 1.2 million square foot, curtain-walled office tower for the headquarters of Gamesa, a company specializing in sustainable energy technologies and one of the world's largest wind turbine manufacturers.
The Spanish architects share a common vision with Aqua's Jeanne Gang in using the built environment as a reflection of the structures of nature. Gang drew inspiration from stone outcroppings in Michigan; Junquera and Obal see the mountains reflected in urban buildings and the rivers in the city's highways.
The balconies at Aqua and the eaves at M-30 were both designed to provide shading and reduce solar height gain, as well as to set their respective buildings, in Junquera's words, "vibrating with light" in variation day to day and season to season. At M-30, there's also atmospheric lighting at night.
In Madrid, the continuous eaves, made of pre-cast fiber-reinforced concrete, also buffer the offices from street noise - the site is along two major thoroughfares (the M-30 is one of them) which together bring 100,000 cars rushing past the building each day.
In Chicago, the poured-in-place concrete slab balconies, scraped away in places to create sculptural voids of curtain wall, provide views into the city's dense urban forest that would not be available from a rigidly rectangular perimeter.
Isn't it an enormous relief to have Aqua finally wash the sour taste of the once-dominant bunker of the Park Millennium out of the skyline?