Monday, November 19, 2012

Casa Corredor Duque de Alba-Madrid Mews part II

Built in 1925 as affordable houses and garages by the Duke of Alba (architect Antonio Ferreras Posadillo), and located in a back street to the Palacio of Liria we can find another space that reminds us of a "Mew".

Conde Duque Alleway

It is built with concrete withstands and shows an U floor. It gives access to "Las Negras" street as a sidestreet,

It is very curious the structure of galleries as a "corrala" . The outside brick with small paired windows, gives us the feeling of a nineteenth century industrial building

Front Street "Las Negras" Street

The location of this corrala, between the wall of the Palace of Liria, and the alleway of Conde Duque, in a hill and under the impressive wall of headquarters, gives us the feeling of a hidden, mysterious and forgotten place, similar of the alleyway of a city factory in the industrial revolution.
Conde Duque Sidestreet. On the left, Headquarter Wall

Conde Duque Sidestreet

As a curiosity, in the front of the alleyway, the one that is located close to the Conde Duque Headquarters, we can see impacts of bullet projectiles of war due to its proximity.

For more information:
Arquitectura de Madrid: Tomo I.Casco histórico. Coam.
Ficha disponible en la página del Colegio de Arquitecos de Madrid:

Text: Álvaro Rey
Pictures: Manuel Rey/Álvaro Rey 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Madrid "Mews" - Part I

In the English-speaking world, the Mews are back streets or alleys that were originally created as stables of the houses of nobility and middle class, who lived in the main streets. These Mews prevent Lords from the discomfort and smell that came from horses and carriages. This kind of alleys are quite common particularly in London, where most of them have been converted into lofts and design houses that maintain its external looking.

In Madrid, although these "Mews" were not built, we can find some similar examples, old stables or alleys destined for this use that bring us the Mews to memory.

We will begin with two well-known alleys  in one of the main shopping areas of Madrid. What many people is not aware is that what today are fashion shops and expensive restaurants used to be destined to horses, cars and cows of the nobility.

We are talking about the private alley from 12 to 14 Jorge Juan Street and Puigcerdá street from number 2 to 20.

This are the old stables, garages and dairies in the neighborhood of salamanca

Jorge Juan 12 Alley
Puigcerdá Street

Puigcerdá Street

These constructions are dated between the years 1865 and 1875. Its authorship is unclear, but it is the auxiliary buildings of the first blocks of homes in the Ensanche area of Salamanca (José Maria Gomez, Cristobal Lecumberri, Elias Rogent and Luis Ruiz Alvarez, on those same dates), built following the adoption of the Ensanche of Madrid Plan designed by Carlos Mª de Castro (Castro 1860 plan) plan disparaged and forgotten many times, however it has a valuable urban and historic, as well was promulgated by the Ayuntamiento of Madrid on its 150th anniversary, and as it is reflected in many urban books. I would like to give as an example the "Atlas du Paris Haussmanien" Pierre Piñón (edit Parigramme) where appears as one of the earliest European examples of inheritance of the Haussmann Paris Plan (plan that the majority of large European cities tried to imitate somewhat).

Puigcerdá Street end

Jorge Juan Alley

Calle Puigcerdá con Jorge Juan al fondo

The two alleys have different environments, while Jorge Juan's is dedicated to fashion shops, Puigcerdà is plenty of restaurants with terrace in the streets and on the rooftops. Some street musician plays its accordeon. A pleasant experience in the evening.

Jorge Juan Street Perspective
Jorge Juan Street Perspective / Puigcerdá Street

In the picture from below we can see an example of London "Mew":

Peter´s Hamplace,Knightsbridge,Londres

In the next post we will go through another "Mew" from Madrid: "la Casa de Corredor del Duque de Alba"

For more information: "Arquitectura de Madrid: Tomo 2 -ensanches". edit: COAM

In the website from the "colegio de Arquitectos de Madrid" it is possible to find the complete set:

fotos: Manuel Rey/Álvaro Rey
texto: Álvaro Rey

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Vinos y Cervezas Hernani 20 "El sordo"-Wine & Beer 20 Hernani ("The Deaf")

In 20 Hernani Street within the traditional neighborhood of Cuatro Caminos we can find a typical tavern popularly known as "The Deaf" or Vinos Paco..
In the entrance just can be seen "Wine & beer" and the number "20" of the street. It is known by neighbors as "The Deaf" because of father of the actual bartender who is carrying on with the business.Typical Tavern that remains as it was losts of years ago.

Visiting that tavern is an incredible experience from "Old Madrid" and the environment and people from Cuatro Caminos in that time.
The jars, the taps, the color of the walls and ceilings, tiles, and even toilets remain with no change.

The building in which it is located is interesting in itself in Hernani Street corner to Isturiz being a typical building of the neighborhood from past times. It is one of the first houses builded in Cuatro Caminos, with brick exterior and interior structure of stairs, hallway or patio, with interesting cornices and baseboards.
The building was constructed between 1880 and 1900.

This cultural area, even today, is plenty of locals and typically traditional buildings (less and less every day) that are worth to be known and preserved.

For more information about the architecture of the area:
"Architecture of Madrid". Volume 2. "Ensanches". 'COAM Foundation (school Arquitectos de Madrid). 2003.
The data sheet is available on the College website:

 Pictures & Text: Álvaro Rey

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Until recently, in Plaza de Tribunal (Tribunal square) we could see the entrance to an old public toilets, very common in the early twentieth century.

These public toilets consisted in an entry of a wrought-iron railings and a original public lamp.

It was located near the gate (recent work) that separated the Fama fountain (by Pedro de Ribera) from the pavement of the square.

The sidewalk was big enough,  in fact it was used as a regular meeting place.

It was a little reminder of other times, in which the design and implementation of street furniture were carefully treated.

Why this happens? Instead of this public toilets now there is nothing, a few tiles that neither widen the sidewalk. Another example of  how functionality is misunderstood and how in the city the past is easily forgotten and destroyed, making cities poorer.
Although less charming, there are still a few of these public toilets. In the Parque del Retiro (Retiro park) we still can admire one of this toilets (still running ) and in the Plaza de la Cebada (Cebada square) of which we will write more about it in future posts.

In the case of Plaza de Tribunal (Tribunal Square), we just only have a memory and some old pictures.


At number 12 of Ibiza street survives one of the few traditional wineries (Bodega) that nowadays are preserved.

In this type of wineries (Bodegas), very popular until the 80s of XX century, were sold wine directly from barrels (called "litreo") as well as diferent sort of liquors and wines (specially from La Mancha Region). Also home deliveries were made.


In all the tipical districts of Madrid (barrios castizos) used to be one or two of this "Bodegas", their owners or dependents were usually from regions near Madrid. Some of them were small companies with a few branches f.e. La Ardosa, La Cubas, El Maño ...

Bodega Ibiza preserves its local plenty of this tradition, is a friendly environment and highly customer oriented service. As you can see in the photo above, still keeps the jars, the sink with the little fountain for wash the bottles and barrels that after were filled in with wine..

We recommend pop in in this place, buy a drink, and speak with his friendly owner. It seems that his sons are willing to continue the tradition, so we can luckily continue enjoying this old "bodega" (winery)

Photos and text:Álvaro Rey


 CHAMBERI STATION, is a singular space, is the only completely original station of Metro de Madrid (Underground). Now has been converted in part of the museum called "Anden 0" (the other place of the museum: Nave de Motores de Pacifico-Pacifico engineering Place). The station is not in used.

The station maintains the design and furniture as the day it was closed (even used tickets and other objects of the time), so it could be seen as a time machine. Inaugurated in 1919, was closed in 1966. In the 60s, because the passenger traffic was increased, Metro decide introduce new higher capacity trains of six cars. They decided the closure of the station (in curve) because its location was proximity to Bilbao Station and Iglesia station.

 The lobby retains all original features: The main ticket office, the booster, the revision, the input control traveler, nestled steps and even the staff room

"Chamberi" serviced the first Metro line (linea 1). Its design, by architect Antonio Palacios, with colorists panels at lobbies, corridors and platforms, using ceramic panels and white and cobalt blue

The platforms, decorated with tiles, brings us back to another times with ceramic advertisements were below of paper advertisements used in the lasts years that the station was used.

Route information was lettered by hand on the wall. This allowed change information when expanding a station

Currently the trains do not stop at the station, but the trains cross it. Travelers line 1 can see it from the train.

The station was restored and recovered in 2006, according to the project of the architects Pau Soler and Miguel Rodriguez, performing full interior restoration and recovery of the original furniture and platforms, and the creation of a new access (modern design) because the original had disappeared

For more information:
Catalogo de la exposición del Circulo de Bellas Artes: "Antonio Palacios: constructor de Madrid"
Text:Álvaro Rey
Photos: Manuel Rey/Álvaro Rey