The Princesa building, designed by Fernando Higueras and Antonio Miró, stands as a testament to their architectural vision and creativity. Completed in 1975, this magnificent structure has undergone a fascinating transformation over the years, reflecting the evolving needs and aspirations of its residents. Originally conceived as a residence for military retirees, the Princesa building has emerged as a vibrant hub for design-oriented entrepreneurs and young families.
Princesa Apartments Technical Information
- Architect: Fernando Higueras + Antonio Miró
- Location: San Bernardo, Madrid, Spain
- Topics: Apartments, Concrete, Vertical Gardens, Organic Architecture
- Project Year: 1975
- Total Area: 53.000 m2
- Client: Military Houses Patronage
- Photography: © ArchEyes, © Monocle, © Personal Archives Fernando Higueras
I finished my degree at the time when Mies Van der Rohe was influencing all those who had just left the School with his rationalist and cubic architecture, speaking that less is more. It always seemed to me that less is less, and more is more.– Fernando Higueras
Princesa Apartments Photographs
The Princesa Building: A Concrete Testament to Spain’s Transition to Democracy
The Princesa building, completed in 1975 by Fernando Higueras for the Military Houses Patronage in Madrid, stands as an architectural landmark in the Conde Duque district. This downtown area, rich in historical significance, provides the backdrop for a building that encapsulates the contradictions and optimism of Spain’s transition to democracy.
Higueras and Miro embarked on an ambitious project that tackled both architectural and urbanism challenges, resulting in a complex intervention that left a lasting mark on the cityscape. Originally intended as both a bunker and a luxury home for Franco’s loyal cadre, the Princesa building showcases the audacity and paradoxes of that transformative era.
One notable aspect of Higueras and Miro’s design was the emphasis on isolating the building from urban noise. To achieve this, the architects shaped the balconies in a manner that would deflect traffic noise back to the street, creating a serene environment within. Additionally, the incorporation of hanging gardens formed a verdant curtain of vertical vegetation between the terraces, adding beauty without obstructing natural light.
The structural framework of the Princesa building is constructed using exposed reinforced concrete, highlighting its color and texture. This approach not only imbued the building with a distinct aesthetic quality but also resulted in significant cost savings by eliminating the need for extensive bricklaying.
The Princesa building stands as a testament to the visionary architecture of Higueras and Miro, who skillfully addressed the needs of their time while creating an enduring legacy. As a witness to Spain’s transition to democracy, it symbolizes the resilience and adaptability of a nation moving toward a brighter future. Today, the Princesa building continues to captivate residents and visitors alike, serving as a reminder of Spain’s historical journey and the power of architectural design to shape a society.
Both bunker and luxury home for Franco’s loyal cadre, the building is a concrete testament to the contradictions and bold optimism of Spain’s transition to democracy.1
Princesa Apartments by Higueras Plans
Princesa Apartments Image Gallery
About Fernando Higueras
Fernando de Higueras Díaz (1930 – January 30, 2008) was a Spanish architect. He was born in Madrid. He graduated as an architect from the Superior Technical School of Architecture of Madrid in 1959. His work is recognized worldwide as an original and exciting union of constructivist, rationalist, and organic architecture. Higueras was also a musician, a painter, and a photographer. He died in Madrid, aged 77 years.