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“Pulling The Rug Out From Under Our Feet”: The Royal Laundry, Madrid

Part 2 Project 2011
Andrew Cumine
University of Westminster, UK
Negotiating Madrid’s complex topography, its natural terrain seems a forgotten membrane draped on a solid geography and covered by artificial constructions. The rugged western escarpment, essential to Madrid’s self-image, inspired the position of the Royal Palace and is contradicted by its flat terraces.

Three topographical ‘samples’ of the escarpment are conceived as surfaces requiring new support structures. These memories of Madrid’s historic edge are conceptually displaced to the giant flatness of a hippodrome at the city’s contemporary edge, and transformed as architectural constructions and positioning devices for new developments.

The first development to occur around the displaced topographies is a royal laundry facility for all the textiles and tapestries housed in Madrid’s royal palace. The laundry exhibits the monumental scale of the domestic by exposing the domestic scale of the royal. The codes and processes of cleaning organize sorting, washing, drying and repairs into viewable territories, and re-curate the royal treasures and the royal everyday. The Royal Laundry possessing three water storage towers, also doubles programmatically as a water treatment plant, alleviating the growing concern of water shortage currently present within mainland Spain.

Sited between neglected Moncloa-Aravaca and the EU protected area of Monte De El Pardo, the royal laundry acts as a new social, economic and cultural anchor connecting this 'etcetera' with Madrid.

Andrew Cumine


Jeanne Sillett
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