Madrid. Save the Children’s headquarters “stimulates affection” by its inhabitants

Madrid-based firm Elii wraps a modern building into a contemporary shell, improving its spaces, aesthetics and performances.

Elii, Save the Children Foundation's headquarters, Madrid, 2018

“Exciting and functional”: through these two adjectives Madrid-based firm Elii describes the project for Save the Children Foundation’s Spanish headquarters. In the San Diego neighborhood of the Iberian capital, Elii refurbishes an existing, ordinary building, which is entirely wrapped into a newly constructed shell. The façade overlooking the street is made three-dimensional by the addition of a system of flower-pots and a suspended frame of sliding curtains, both overlapping on the continuous glazed surfaces of each level. The architectural language is decidedly and appropriately sober. Only by unrolling the drapes, the big letters of the “Save the Children” inscription appear, stating the special program of this institutional building, nested within a mainly residential context. The complete renovation of the front enhances its energetic and thermal performance, whereas the enlargement to the rear perfects the functioning of the service and distribution core. Moreover, the extension of the top floor, featuring a distinctive asymmetric pitched roof, provides the monotone structure of the original maison domino with complex and double-height spaces.

The interiors fully unveil the “exciting” character of Elii’s design. The young residents – whom the architects consider as one of the project’s “three juries”, alongside the experts and the personnel – explore and customize rooms of the greatest variety in terms of materials and colors, and also equipped with movable panels and portable furniture. A specific wish list was drawn up by Elii together with the final users: “Some of their requests, such as ‘installing a chocolate fountain on each floor’ were difficult to implement in the project. Others, however, such as ‘being able to see the stars from the rooms’ have been converted into different architectural elements”. Also based on this proposition a large skylight dematerializes the roof of the screening room on the last floor. This is just one out of many moments of care and attention within a building whose first aim is to “stimulate affection” by the children that will inhabit it.  

Elii, Save the Children Foundation's headquarters, Madrid, 2018
Elii, Save the Children Foundation's headquarters, Madrid, 2018
Save the Children Foundation's headquarters
Elii (Uriel Fogué, Eva Gil, Carlos Palacios)
Team leader:
Ana López 
Team (competition):
Eduardo Castillo, María Rodríguez, Irene de Santos, Ana Castaño
Team (execution project):
Eduardo Castillo, María Rodríguez, Irene de Santos, Carlos Moles, Paula Rodríguez, Lucía Fernández
Save the Children Foundation
483 sqm

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