Author : Borja Aznar Montero

University : Architecture School at the Polytechnical University of Madrid

Status : MArch, 2015

Advisors : José Aranguren, José Gonzalez Gallegos

Title : Madrid Import Export

Nowadays, society demands immediacy. Many people buy the products that the big brands releases every year. The consumerism is increasing just like the e-commerce. The aim of this project (a shopping center in Valdebebas (Madrid), on a plot of large dimensions – 145,000 m2) is to rethink a building typology that is gradually losing its value. Despite being important activity centers of the periphery of the cities, the malls have been undervalued in their architectural design. The projects tries to solve this problem.

However, the principal goal of this typology is not the architectural or social interest, the main purpose is to be economically profitable. The project needs a different, attractive and powerful idea in order to achieve both the architectural and economic goal.

This powerful idea comes from the understanding of the context. The context is complex: there are several shopping malls quite close to it, and they are not prosperous at all. Nevertheless, this context suggests that this situation could be reversed. The plot has the enormous constraint of being located next to the T-4 of Madrid-Barajas (airport). Due to the large increase in air cargo transactions, the airport needs to undertake an expansion of its cargo terminal. Taking advantage of the linear relationship between the world of sales and goods, the project proposes to connect the plot with the airport, which is just over one kilometer away. Therefore, the new building will be at the same time the planned shopping mall and a logistics center in search of mutual benefit of both uses. The logistics layer takes advantage of the reduced costs and delivery times. The shopping layer makes the most of the great attraction that the machinery and legists world has and uses it as a sales strategy. Once together, the operation of lifting and distancing both layers makes possible to create an amazing new space where the movement of goods is the protagonist. This surprising space accommodate temporary exhibitions.

Structurally, the building is divided into two different systems. One of precast concrete above ground level (layers: logistics and parking) and other of roller steel below ground level (layers: exhibition and shopping). Metal tubes connect all layers and contains the machines needed to elevate the goods from the logistics layer to shopping layer. The facade, made of a silicone coated PTFE fiberglass membrane, unifies all layers in a single gesture.


S//A : What’s the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
Borja Aznar Montero_ The main idea of the project stems from the understanding of the physical and socio-economic context that surrounds it. The shopping mall is connected to the airport to enhance the border situation. This connection makes sense because the two different building typologies that the project links are actually very similar (in terms of space and profitability). The project grows from a very simple scheme that allows to add the unexpected use of the logistics to the mall, in order to make it even more profitable. Finally, the green space in the middle gives meaning to the scheme and helps to attract people to the building.

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
BAM_ I find that any field can be interesting. Architects should learn from everything. However, I am specifically interested in the connection between new technologies, cinema, music and architecture.

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
BAM_ The architect not only creates buildings or projects. We are responsible to integrate several disciplines and to find the beauty in all of them, so that, we can improve the people’s lives, even above the basic needs. We have to take care of every single detail, beauty is in the small things.

S//A : Describe your dream project
BAM_ Right now, any real project would be a dream, but I wish I could make a single house for a friend who could give me total freedom during the design process.