The new offices of the Botín Foundation in Madrid by MVN Architects

News Infurma23/11/2012

The Botín Foundation has established its new offices in Madrid by choosing a 1920s industrial building which was for years the Silversmith workshop of Luis Espuñes and more recently the Vinçon shop in Madrid. Diego Varela de Ugarte and Emilio Medina García of MVN Arquitectos, have been the Project Architects.

The peculiarity of this building has given the opportunity to create a reference point. With this in mind, the new project attempts to retain the spirit of the original industrial character, in keeping with the same philosophy of the Foundation, which is a driving force for developing talent.

Once again, natural light can enter the whole building, which has remained in the dark since its last use. Not only have the infilled windows and skylights been reopened, but also the internal structure has been altered to create a double-height atrium for the use as the main lobby. The direct day light and natural vegetation impose character and personality to this meeting place.

The building aims now to reveal the historical changes by exposing the original steel and brickwork; the various alterations in the past; and by contrast, the new construction work whose finishes are mainly oak, steel and glass.

The ground floor is intended for public activities with a flexible but modular, clear open space. The first floor is to be used by the management of the Foundation. The two areas are arranged around the new light well and crowned by a lantern over the atrium.

The use of natural wood on the floor, walls and ceiling adds warmth to this area.

The ceiling of the ground floor is made up of longitudinal solid timber slats of American red oak which also partially covers the steel pillars.

The doors and wall panelling as well as the finish of the moveable partitions have been veneered with European oak. This species is also used for the flooring of the ground floor and of the first floor.

The surrounding panels of the atrium at roof level and at first floor level have been finished with timber slats of American red oak fixed to secondary steelwork.

In every case, ceiling, walls and floorings, oak has been treated with colourless oil to show the grain of the timber without altering its natural tone. This is essential to maintain the atmosphere of the new space.

Diego Varela says “the use of oak has been essential to intentionally emphasize the contrast between what exists, the brick, and what is new, mainly executed in wood“. He adds, “although we could decide between several species finally our option was oak because it combines the warmth and hardness characteristics we were looking for this unique project“.


Architects: Diego Varela de Ugarte and Emilio Medina García
MVN Arquitectos (

Client: Fundación Botín
Collaborators: Alfonso García del Rey, Laura Sánchez, María Pascual and Alicia Castilla, arquitectos
Technical Architect: María Lamela Martín
Interior design consultant: Juan Luis Líbano
Consultants: Ingenor, Structural and Service engineers
Luis Vallejo Estudio de Paisajismo, Landscape designer
Project Manager: Santander Global Facilities
Constractor: Ferrovial
Wooden carpentry:
- Ground floor ceiling: Moinsa
- Flooring: Parquets Román S.L.
- Doors and wall panels: Teisa
Images: Alfonso Quiroga (photographer). Fundación Botín (copyright).

Final completion date: 2012
Construction period: 8 meses
Gross floor area: 1.541,95 m2
Final contract sum: 1.784.000€


The sapwood of red oak is white to light brown and the heartwood is a pinkish reddish brown. The wood is similar in general appearance to white oak, but with a slightly less pronounced figure. The wood is mostly straight grained, with a coarse texture.

Good availability as lumber and veneer in a wide range of grades and specifications.

The wood is hard and heavy, with medium bending strength and stiffness and high crushing strength. It is very good for steam bending. Red oak machines well; nailing and screwing is good and it can be stained and polished to a very good finish.

This attractive looking oak, that is widely available, is increasingly being chosen by designers and architects for furniture, joinery and flooring in export markets around the world.


Read more news related AHEC published at Infurma

Visit the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) website


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