This museum project for Fundación Telefónica, the cultural institution of Spain’s largest telephone company, occupies four floors in the historic Telefónica Building at the top of Madrid’s most central street, the Gran Via. The historic nature of the building and the difficult relationships between the reclaimed spaces of the old building generated the central focus of project: a prominent, cohesive circulation path that connects all galleries and cultural spaces on the upper floors to one another and to the street.
Two and a half quadrants of the structural grid abutting the façade saw their existing floor plates demolished to create a vertical atrium into which a large spiral staircase was inserted. The staircase weaves through an organic, sculptural form which serves simultaneously as lateral-load bracing for the building’s façade (necessary after the removal of the floor slabs) and dead-load support for the stair helix. A high-capacity glass elevator completes the vertical circulation nucleus.