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SAN share (Madrid) Negativo_GB 3.5715 | -3.49% | 18:00

How the City was built

The firm of KR & JD (Kevin Roche and John Dankeloo) submitted the project that won the international competition called by Grupo Santander, in which Norman Foster & Partners, Rafael Moneo and KMD (Kaplan, Mc Laughlin Díaz) from California also participated.

Kevin Roche (Dublin, 1922) is one of the leading exponents of American postmodern architecture. A disciple of Mies van der Rohe, he has developed a spare architectural style noted for its use of glass. His imposing glass structures in 1982 earned him the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest accolade. His most notable works include emblematic corporate centres — for the Ford Foundation (New York) and Fiat (Turin)— , as well as other distinguished projects, such as UN Plaza and the Metropolitan Museum extension in New York.

Roche’s design for Grupo Santander City is strongly Spanish in character, with low-rise buildings connected by a network of patios, squares and mirrors of water. In addition, it has brilliantly resolved environmental requirements. Soil movement began in May 2002, and two years later, on 13 April 2004, employees began to be transferred to central buildings at the rate of 500 people per week. The City had been built in record time, and by the end of July 2004 over 4000 employees had already been relocated there. In addition, satisfaction was provided for the main concerns of employees: food, transport, timetables, sports and nursery.

The building of Grupo Santander City was the second largest construction project in Europe in 2003, behind Terminal 4 at Madrid-Barajas Airport. The City links to the Madrid financial centre via the north-eastern highways, the M-40, M-50 and the M-511 Boadilla highway, as well as via the light railway connecting the complex to the extensive Metro and public transport network of the Community of Madrid.