Beta Ø Architects upgrades Madrid riding arena with slatted wooden exterior
Spanish studio Beta Ø Architects has improved the energy performance of a 1960s horse-riding arena in Madrid, by covering its dramatic concrete structure in layers of polycarbonate and timber slats.
The riding arena, located just off Madrid's Carretera de Castilla highway, was built in 1963. Madrid practice Beta Ø Architects had to begin the renovation by removing asbestos from the building's facades.
The architects then developed a new enclosure to help reduce energy consumption.
They first added a transparent polycarbonate skin to the existing steel sub-structure, helping to keep the chill off the arena in winter. A second layer made of timber slats provides shade in summer.
"The new facade has been carefully designed considering the stunning natural environment in which the current covered riding arena is surrounded by lush vegetation and large deciduous trees," said the architects.
"From the outside the new enclosure mimes the natural wooded setting, through games of transparencies, reflections, lights and shadows filtered and projected through their two skins," they added.
The wooden strips run horizontally around the facades of the building. Smaller blocks are set between, while diagonal lengths are laid behind to create a latticed pattern.
The two long sides of the arena tilt inwards, while the shorter two are vertical, and a row of angled concrete columns support a huge concave roof structure that spans the sunken sand school within.
Together with the slatted enclosure, the chunky columns cast dramatic shadows across the tiered observation spots in the wings of the arena.
Wood-lined rooms placed at either end of the building form judging, changing and nursing booths.
"On the inside a selective and respectful renovation has been developed contributing to enhance and reactivate the intrinsic values of the original building through specific interventions like minor acupuncture operations.
Other spaces designed for horses include an equestrian centre in Australia with a horse-sized pool and an arena modelled on a giant bird's nest the in the Czech republic.
Photography and video are by Imagen Subliminal.
Architect: Borja Peña Morientes
Collaborators: Ernesto Sierra Díaz, Xabier Ortega Añorga, Nagore Urrutia del Campo, Virginia Laínez, Javier Muñoz Posse and Julio Gotor Valcárcel
Technical architect: José Carlos Asensio and Sandra Rodriguez.
Project developer: Club de campo Villa de Madrid