Plaza Mayor* – StudioGronda
Masterplan Plaza Mayor*Madrid, Spain
Courtesy of Rockwell Group. Completed while a Managing Director at Rockwell Group, Madrid.

Large-Scale Installations Link a Historic Plaza to the 21st Century

The goal of this experimental project was to play with the notion of urban history and evolution. A series of large-scale interventions were designed to change people’s experience of Madrid’s 400 year-old Plaza Mayor and to heighten their sense of its past and present. The experiential master plan was built around three different strategies: The first one proposed a mirror box in the center of the square, which is lined by three-story residential buildings. In turn, its interior is transformed into a lush garden. This intervention would allow visitors to experience the space without the equestrian statue at the centre, which was only placed there in 1848. Trees, however, were planted across the original square. The intervention is a play on history and offers visitors a way to access the past without modifying the square’s present structure.

Courtesy of Rockwell Group.

The second proposal also references the original landscape of the square as the tree formations have been replaced with helium balloons. These inflatable structures create shadows that resemble the old tree formations. In addition, the proposal included a series of fan-like structures to provide shade to the cafés and restaurants lining the square’s perimeter. Fans are an important part of Spanish cultural heritage, offering relief from the heat.

Courtesy of Rockwell Group.

The last intervention takes into consideration the historic variety of uses of the square. The plan proposed four distinctive experiences for different times of the year: a horse sand pit for the fall, a flower carpet for the spring, a reflecting pool for the summer and an ice rink for the winter. These activities would be captured in video sequences which would be projected onto the surrounding walls of the square.

*Completed while a Managing Director at Rockwell Group, Madrid.