Madrid RIO

Madrid, ES

The city of Madrid dug 43 kilometres of tunnels into which the exit routes and motorways of the six-kilometre section along the River Manzanares disappeared. West 8, working together with MRIO arquitectos, a joint venture of three Madrid based firms managed by Ginés Garrido Colomero, designed the master plan for the reclaimed riverbanks and the new urban area.

Development plans were then prepared for the individual components: Salón de Pinos, Avenida de Portugal, Huerta de la Partida, Jardines del Puente de Segovia, Jardines del Puente de Toledo, Jardines de la Virgen del Puerto and Arganzuela Park.

The most important of which include: the Salón de Pinos, designed as a linear green space, which links the existing and newly designed urban spaces with each other along the Manzanares River. Salón de Pinos is located almost entirely on top of the motorway tunnel and features a “choreography” of 8.000-fold pine trees and a repertoire of cuts.  

Avenida de Portugal, by relocating one of the most important roads into the centre of Madrid underground and providing underground parking for 1,000 vehicles, it was possible to convert the space into a garden to benefit local residents. Embellished with Cherry trees and cherry motif, the result is the creation of an extremely popular public space.

Huerta de la Partida, the old Royal Palace is now a modern interpretation of the original royal orchard and a wide variety of fruit trees in planted in groups to create an enclosed garden. For the Arganzuela Park, the dominant motive is the water. The canalized river Manzanares is surrounded by architectonical walls.The system of streams running through the park will cross through the topography and merge into the different spaces and motifs

Puentes Cascara, serving as bridges and iconic landmarks, Puentes Cascara creates a place where the river is really experienced. Designed as a massive concrete dome with a rough texture, the bridges feature more than one hundred cables resembling whale baleens, which are fixed to the slim steel deck. The fine detailing becomes visible when entering the bridge. The ceilings are covered in a beautiful mosaic artwork done by Spanish artist Daniel Canogar.

The first part of the project were completed in spring 2007 and in spring 2011 the entire project was completed.

Arganzuela Park and the Salon de Pinos are connected by two slow traffic bridges, the Cascara Bridges.

Photography: Jeroen Musch, City of Madrid


Municipality of Madrid


Burgos & Garrido Arquitectos Asociados, Porras La Casta Arquitectos and Rubio & Álvarez-Sala (during construction period these 3 Madrid-based firms formed a joint venture for the project: MRIO arquitectos)


Urban Land Institute ULI Urban Open Space Award 2018, I premios Arquitectura con Eñe in Designing with Stone category (2016), 12th Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design - Harvard GSD (2015), Zumtobel Group Award finalist in the Urban Developments & Initiatives Category (2014), Asprima-Sima Award for best urban development plan or urban renewal 2012 (Spain), COAM Awards to the Work of Architects 2012 (Spain), FAD Award in City and Landscape 2012 (Spain), Biennial Prize for Urban Project - XIII International Biennale of Architecture in Buenos Aires 2011 (Argentina), Finalist Dutch Design Awards 2011 (NL), Golden Swing Award 2010 (Spain)