Torres Blancas, Madrid – The White Towers
Situated in an unassuming outskirt neighborhood on the N-II of Madrid lies Torres Blancas. Before I go into depth I think it’s best to first be wowed by it’s impressive, imposing visuals.
Donned, “The White Towers,” due to the unique mix of white marble dust into the concrete solution, Torres Blancas is the result of a combined effort from Francisco Javier Saenz de Oíza, John Daniel and Rafael Moneo Fullaondo. Constructed over a period of 5 years the towers were completed in 1969 and have remained one of the finest examples of organicism in architecture around today. The huge towers climb 23 floors over 71m before opening out to create multiple circular platforms, much like that of a tree top canopy, of which house communal gardens, a restaurant and a rooftop pool.
Inside, the idea of an organic living building becomes even more clear. With the facades and curved terraces conveying the idea of tree growth from the outside, the interior “plants” seemingly make up a confusing yet organic network of muscles and veins, linking each and every floor to each other. Apartments incorporate the circular, concrete exteriors into the space, making furniture choices a challenge for living residents as well as businesses who use the available office space. The curving of the exteriors, however, allows for excellent light distribution.
The construction of Torres Blancas was one of the most complicated and innovative reinforced concrete builds of the era. Consisting of a series of main circular concrete towers in cantilever formation without pillars, the semi circle balconies join on to to stabilise the load baring walls from within whilst at the same time emulating the look of leafs, casually hanging off of branches. At the ground level plaza the curves and sweeps continue with extensive use of white marble helping to merge the building itself into it’s public surroundings.
Torres Blancas remains today in my eyes one of the most interesting and iconic builds from the 60s. Amongst a host of brilliant Brutalist designs of the time, Blancas stands out on its own. A futuristic tree house, years ahead of it’s time in 1969. I can only imagine the communal vibe there must be amongst residents, almost forced into the way of life by the inner workings of the trunk.