One peek at CentroCentro, the new cultural center housed in the Cibeles Palace (circa 1909), and you’ll see why today’s globetrotting trendsetters are making a fuss over Madrid. The Palacio has presided over the Plaza de Cibeles since the early 20th century, built by the modernist architect Antonio Palacios as the headquarters for the postal service. After a massive restoration, the cathedral-like landmark has reinvented itself as a central hub for Madrileños and visitors alike. On the ground floor, a technicolor lounge offers free access to iPads and the Internet. Exhibits are staged in the upstairs gallery space, and a rooftop observation deck, 70 meters above the street, captures panoramic views of the urban landscape. Anchoring the city’s Art Promenade, CentroCentro is a symbol of today’s Madrid- a cosmopolitan capital where innovation and tradition go hand in hand.
In fact, Madrid is undergoing a renaissance following a number of urban regeneration projects, and Visit Madrid! has kicked off a campaign to spread the word. After a recent trip to the Spanish capital, we can confirm: The city cleans up real nice. Behold entire networks of pedestrian zones, wider sidewalks planted with hundreds of new trees, and stunning arts centers like the CaixaForum, a converted power station covered with a vertical garden. Even the Reina Sofia Museum, home to Picasso’s “Guernica,” has a new lease on life with a spectacular glass-and-aluminum addition by architect Jean Nouvel.
Recently unveiled, Madrid Río is a massive project that converted the polluted stretch of land surrounding the Manzanares River into a verdant park with 10 kilometers of cycling and walking trails. The M-30 highway, which used to parallel the river, was moved entirely underground. In the summer months, concerts take place in Madrid Río, and beaches lure sun-seekers.
Images of CentroCentro via inhabitat: design will save the world