The CaixaForum Madrid is an emblematic building from an architectural point of view. The building used to be a power plant but was remodelled by the famous swiss arquitects Herzog and De Meuron. They kept the physiognomy of the original building all while transforming it into something spectacular, unique and full of hidden references. The peculiarity of the architecture of the building is open to interpretation. Located in the golden triangle of art, it is definitely worth a visit
The CaixaForum Madrid used to be an old power plant, the mediodia. The construction began in the 1900. The aim of the project was to build a power station based on the combustion of coal, which could supply energy to the entire southern sector of the old quarter of Madrid.
The building was later abandoned, and La Caixa acquired it in 2001. The Swiss architect cabinet, Herzog and De Meuron, were in charge of the renovations, from 2001 to 2007. This was not an easy project as some of the facades were listed, which is why they preserved a lot of the old building. The undertaking has not been easy: 40,000 of the 115,000 bricks covering the building have been replaced and the facade had to be stapled and reinforced in order to transform the property into the CaixaForum Madrid.
There were four basic principles in the strategy used by these Swiss architects: to restore the brick outer layer using traditional techniques, to get rid of the stone base around the power plant, to open up a new public square with an entrance on Paseo del Prado and to add volume. The new sculptural building has cost over 60 million euros.
The iconic vertical garden, by French botanist Patrick Blanc is the first one to be installed in Spain. Moreover, it is the largest implemented to date on a façade without gaps, as it has a planted surface area of 460m2.
Today, the CaixaForum Madrid holds exhibition halls, an auditorium with seating for 322 people and various multipurpose conference rooms. A café, a shop/bookstore and a restaurant round out the centre’s amenities.
Visits and activities
There are many different thematic you can pick from for your visit. History, social, education, cinema, science, art and creation, music and stage-art… There is a big selection for you to pick from, all offering interesting tours and activities. For example, there is a workshop available for kids aged 5 and older, that allow you to create your own theatrical character. With the help of massive mannequins and tricks, the participants can create their own theatrical character with the help of many different materials. There are many options to choose from!
You can visit the CaixaForum Madrid with a group of friends, colleagues, old friends… You pick the day and the time that suits you best, and the well-informed guides will tell you everything about the details in the architecture of the building, how the idea of the CaixaForum came about, the vertical garden and the white staircase!
The group visits are for 30 people maximum, and they last more or less 1 hour. The visits can be done in Spanish, English or French.
Reserve with some anticipation by email (firstname.lastname@example.org ) or by phone: 91 787 96 06
EduCaixa is an educative platform sponsored by la Caixa, specially designed so that teachers can find all they need to prepare and organise classes. From guided visits to music workshops, CaixaForum Madrid offers many resources to teachers and students. These visits or workshop cost 18 euros per group and you can reserve by phone (91 787 96 06) , email (email@example.com ) or online once you create an account .
During your visit
Before going, you can download (for free) an audioguide on your smartphone. You can also use the ones at your disposition. These will give you an insight on some aspects of the building, all while giving you the freedom to explore.
The large auditorium can be rented out for many different occasions such as conferences or receptions… To book, you have to register and follow the steps on this website . Don’t hesitate to contact 934005368 if you are having any troubles.
There is also a restaurant that you can enjoy on the last floor.
Walking around the CaixaForum Madrid is free, and a simple 4 euros will get you into the temporary exhibitions.