Edificio España

Madrid, Spain | C.1953

Photo Credit: Alan White

When it opened in 1953, the Edificio España was the tallest building in Madrid and a symbol of prosperity. Designed by brothers Julian and Jose Mari­a Otamendi in the neo-Baroque style, the building measured 117 m (384 ft) high and contained a 360-room hotel, 300 offices, 184 apartments, a shopping center, and a rooftop pool.

However, the Edificio’s reign of Madrid’s skyline wouldn’t last long. Completed just four years later, the Torre de Madrid – which translates to the “Tower of Madrid” in English – was built just adjacent to the Edificio. At 142 m (466 ft) high with 36 stories, the Torre literally reached new heights of real estate. Perhaps its close proximity and height can be attributed to the fact that the same architects designed both the Edificio España and the Torre de Madrid.

Although no longer the tallest building in Madrid, the Edificio España remained an emblem of Spanish architecture and urban luxury. Throughout the decades, the building changed ownership many times until RIU Hotels purchased the building and officially changed its name to Hotel Riu Plaza España. It is currently the eighth-tallest skyscraper in Madrid.

Now a four-star hotel, the imposing yet elegant structure overlooks the Plaza de España. Its concrete structure, brickwork and limestone facade emphasize its Neo-Baroque style, ushering its architecture into the new era.

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