MRT | Madrid, Spain | 2023

MRT is part of “Elements for Industrial Recovery”, a strategical project which consists in protecting the city’s industrial heritage by finding alternative uses for these obsolete spaces that allow to keep them active and avoid its demolition.

MRT was originally a large food and beverage warehouse. The open plan distribution maximized its storage capability avoiding worthless light or ventilation openings. In order to allow the new use that this space was to receive, a living/working hybrid, the program was split in the different requirements and desires of the new tenants and arranged in a programmatic grid.

What initially was intended to be an abstract work document ended up becoming the actual project. The result is a completely fragmented space, totally opposed to the original open plan warehouse. A mesh made up of walls organizes the space into more open or closed programmatic capsules, depending on the use they house: a kitchen, a study, a library, a patio, a dining room, a bathroom, resting areas, a winter garden, a writing room and a parking space.

The grid, initially orthogonal and uniform, adapts to the pre-existing structure and to the requirements of each cell, becoming a distorted mesh. These divisions become thick masonry walls plastered with lime mortar. Openings of different sizes connect the different spaces of the grid.

An independent wooden structure occupies one of the cells, intended to host resting areas. Like a parasite, this interior hut leans on the support structure constituted by the division walls, housing the most intimate spaces. The walls that make up this volume serve the different uses that surround them, taking the form of a bookshelf for a library, a table for study and a cupboard for storage.

Although in this case the program is very specific, the spatial structure allows the cells to host different uses, making a completely new activity possible in the future. Only two positions of the grid are fixed as they host two courtyards, one of them outdoor, one of them indoor, which provide light and cross ventilation to the whole space.
Text description by the architects.

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Photography by: Maru Serrano