Daily Mirror

Daily Mirror is the first completed intervention of the Strategic plan for the upgrading of energy systems and programmatic implementation in the Eurocis Block.

This plan is intended to upgrade the energy systems and communication networks of this large urban complex and identify opportunities for possible additional programmes. At the same time, it updates the compliance with all current regulations affecting these systems, many of them obsolete after 40 years. The Eurocis Block, completed in 1975 and designed by architect Miguel de Oriol, proposed the implementation of the American model of self-sufficient multifunctional block, combining a mixed programme of housing, offices, shops, a large five level car park and public space. The splitting of the ground level in several strata, the segregation of vehicle and pedestrian circulation, the building system (predominantly prefabricated and modular), and the fact it occupies an entire block of Madrid’s “Ensanche” with a single building, manifest the programmatic ambitions of this complex. An example of “Madrid-style metropolitan congestion”, which along with other contemporary works (Eurobuilding I and II, Centro Empresarial Barrio de la Estrella, Manzana Galaxia or Torres Blancas) sought to inject unprecedented and effervescent programmes in a generic urban fabric.

In precisely one of the main access routes into Madrid, the entrance of the Madrid-Barcelona N-II Highway, is where the Eurocís Block is placed, in an urban edge that marks the transition point between XIXth Century Madrid (Barrio de Salamanca), and its XXth Century expansion (Chamartín District). Standing at the same time on the boundary between these two fabrics and upon the incursion of a high-speed route in the heart of Madrid, Daily Mirror is a permanent installation intended to mark this transition between urban densities and to celebrate, like a big door, the way-in to the city, as seen from the car, still at high speed… An entry that is marked by a sequence of local landmarks (Torres Blancas, Bancaya Building, Av. America Station, Eurocís Block …), that reaches the Paseo de la Castellana and in which Daily Mirror participates, taking from it its scale, its affirmative character and a fleeting and kinetic perception.

Originally included inside the Plan for Accessibility and Landscaping according to Technical Code for the “plaza” in which it is situated, Daily Mirror is an “unsolicited architecture”: a design not only alien to the initially required programme but also a project without purpose or specific use, belonging to a larger intervention, but which has nevertheless been able to polarize interest throughout the process, finding echoes in all parties involved in a complex negotiation with three different properties and clients (public and private), and where the negotiation table has literally been the finished “plaza” in which Daily Mirror lies.

Freed from function but reacting shrewdly to its location, Daily Mirror, originally intended to be read with typological attributions (a pavilion, a fountain, a pergola …), has progressively shaken these off to distil a purely phenomenological and empathic performance: two large reflecting planes that float over the flow of the city’s everyday life, revealing and distorting this nervous system. Reflecting monotonous daily events, which are at the same time unique at every instant, like if it were a diary or a sequential visual archive. An amplifier, a stoppage or a “magnet”, in Cedric Price’s terminology. A place that offers shade, protection against noise, humidity and rest. An ambiguous sign that hovers over pedestrians and intense traffic (and where the bored drivers find a moment of surprise by looking at their own reflection).