Community matters: A-cero transform an old covered market in Spain

Community matters: A-cero transform an old covered market in Spain
Madrid based architecture firm A-cero’s latest work includes the redesign of an old covered market in the historic town of Getafe
(Image credit: Photography: Ines Molla)

Getafe (pop. 173,000) is typical of the ciudades dormitorios (commuter towns) that form a ring around Madrid. Largely residential in nature, they were developed during the industrial boom to provide housing for those that worked in the capital. 

Getafe is more attractive than most in so much that it has an historical centre dating from early 1900s. That said, its old covered market was lying in decay for decades, having lost out to the strategies of the supermarket. In October 2015 it came back to life as a mixed use community centre, structurally enhanced and dressed in a new skin by the Madrid-based studio A-cero. 

A-cero is one of Spain's leading architecture firms. With an acknowledged influence of Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, it has created dozens of swoopy-walled, showstopper homes for the country's luxury-inclined, also counting Cruz-Bardem amongst its clients. The Mercado de Getafe signifies a different model for A-Cero. 'Here, have learnt that we are capable of transforming an existing building into something radical and eye-catching,' says Joaquín Torres, one of A-cero's two partners. 

The programme presented various challenges; salvage the interesting aspects of the original building and make the interior completely functional and adaptable to uses ranging from exhibitions to debates. Aesthetic interventions were confined to the exterior. 

Of the old building, which consists of two volumes, two floors, and a basement, the architects retained and reinforced the exterior walls (now painted black), ceramic ceilings, and interior concrete trusses. The rhythm of the trusses has been echoed in the composition of the facade, a sequence of aluminium 'ribs'. 

Smaller black panels are irregularly interjected outwards from the ribs and support the building's exterior lighting.  On one side, which faces the town's main square, these ribs are interrupted by the abrupt appearance of the market's original entrance and balcony - a stylised reminder of the building's significance as Getafe's community hub.  

'The idea was to make the facade as visually pleasing as possible in order to attract people inside,' continues Torres. 'And to present the idea of an old building wrapped inside a new one.'

Community matters: A-cero transform an old covered market in Spain

The neglected old building was given a new lease of life as a mixed use community and culture centre for the city

(Image credit: Photography: Ines Molla)

Community matters: A-cero transform an old covered market in Spain

Of the old building, which consists of two volumes, two floors, and a basement, the architects retained and reinforced the exterior walls (partly painting them black)

(Image credit: Photography: Ines Molla)

Community matters: A-cero transform an old covered market in Spain

Smaller black panels are irregularly interjected outwards from the facade's 'ribs' and support the building's exterior lighting

(Image credit: Photography: Ines Molla)

Community matters: A-cero transform an old covered market in Spain

The structure is presented as 'an old building wrapped inside a new one', and was designed to attract visitors to come inside

(Image credit: Photography: Ines Molla)

Community matters: A-cero transform an old covered market in Spain

The interior will host all sorts of community events and exhibitions

(Image credit: Photography: Ines Molla)

Community matters: A-cero transform an old covered market in Spain

The existing building's ceramic ceilings and interior concrete trusses were also retained during the renovation

(Image credit: Photography: Ines Molla)

Community matters: A-cero transform an old covered market in Spain

At night the community centre beams as a new cultural beacon for the small Spanish city

(Image credit: Photography: Ines Molla)

INFORMATION

For more information on A-cero visit the website (opens in new tab)

Photography: Ines Molla