elii [oficina de arquitectura]



Opening the technological black box


Competition of ideas for the restructuring and development of Callao and Santo Domingo squares and Preciados and Jacometrezo streets.

Competition. Runner Up

All architectural and urban actuations within a city context necessarily involve a socio ecological intervention upon the surroundings. Thus, our proposal for the design of Callao and Santo Domingo squares and Preciados and Jacometrezo streets is more than a compositional or aesthetic exercise: it is the design of a productive space for the city, as well as a space to raise ecological awareness. Power generation will cover the construction costs in the long term.

The project revolves around three integrated systems: firstly, a system for the arrangement of the public space based on different trajectories that guarantee accessibility. Secondly, a power system that participates in the city’s infrastructural processes. Finally, a range of plant species that includes ground cover and tree species. This serves to configure a hybrid and diverse urban landscape that participates in the political urban ecology of the centre of Madrid.

The starting point for this strategy is the addition and combination of a modular power management device, a basic prefabricated structure that can adapt to the various programmatic scenarios simultaneously covered by the street furniture. The canopies include displays that provide information about the power management processes, with the expert language translated into easy-to-understand visual codes. Furthermore, they are used to support the vegetation cover, observing the technical criterion of minimum maintenance and maximum energy savings. A pattern of recycled paving stones outlines the rest areas and the transit areas. Finally, the existing trees are maintained, and their number is increased by 20% in Jacometrezo and Preciados streets.


Abriendo la caja negra 

1. Opening the technological black box. Public space is not merely the gap between buildings. Streets and squares are infrastructural terminals and teaching spaces that turn the invisible visible.

Squares connect streets. In addition, these squares are connected to the power-generation grid.

 2. Energy map. A strategic map calculates the solar potential of the squares and the locations where the power capture devices should be installed.

Operational diagrams for a strategic intervention.

3. Power product (PNS). An ‘à la carte’ energy product has been designed for the city of Madrid, in accordance with applicable legislation: a Premium Network Square (PNS) that balances financial performance and urban needs and will eventually cover the material costs of the square.

Public spaces as a power-generating product.

4. Cíborgcity. This socio-technical landscape is configured as an ongoing hybrid of society, technology and nature. 

The urban body is the body of the cyborgcity.

5. Dual layout. The layout of the paths avoids architectural barriers by creating new routes with minimal gradient. The first layout allows the squares to be crossed quickly, whereas the second one can be used to stop in the rest areas and ‘waste’ time.

Accessibility is always an opportunity.

5. Identity. The technification operations for public spaces are a chance to renew the urban identity of the city of Madrid.

The new culture that arises from sustainability is built upon shared spaces.


  • Architects:
  • elii - Uriel Fogué, Eva Gil, Carlos Palacios
  • Team:
  • Fermina Garrido (Architect), Daniel Bas Bobrova (Student) 
  • Landscaping:
  • Raquel Álvarez, Daniel Castillo
  • Photovoltaic consultant:
  • Schüco
  • Model:
  • elii
  • Area:
  • 2685,89 m2
  • Date:
  • 2006
  • Location:
  • Plazas del Callao y Santo Domingo y Calles de Preciados y Jacometrezo, Madrid