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Desert City

Imagen Subliminal

An oasis between a park and a highway.

Desert City is an oasis for xerophytic plants. Imagen Subliminal photographed and filmed the site offering viewers the chance to discover how spectacular this species can be and the variety of activities taking place around the plants.

The building designed by Garciagerman Arquitectos has a commercial purpose and hosts a huge shopping area. At the same time, other leisure activities with educational purposes are held here, for instance workshops, exhibitions and small conventions. A restaurant, offices and storage are further facilities offered to visitors and employees.

The building is located north of Madrid, between the A-1 Highway and the boundary of the Cuenca Alta del Manzanares Regional Park. It is conceived as a billboard in itself, clearly appearing to people driving along the highway. Despite its hybrid program, the complex’s construction is systematized through repetition, modulation and prefabricated elements. The construction incorporates sustainable solutions such as transparent photovoltaic glass, geothermal power, water recovery systems, solar controls, and extensive plantings on-site, which was formerly a wasteland.

The building appears as a modern and abstract box; its artificial and regular appearance contrasts with the strong natural elements in the courtyard garden. This surprising garden represents the heart of the place and is quite unique, hosting a huge variety of plants assembled in impressive and astounding compositions: there is an entire world here for those who are passionate about cacti.

Imagen Subliminal has produced a short film which showcases the building’s features in an effective way. Besides the main film, the filmmakers shot four clips documenting the construction process. They chose relevant moments of the changing appearance of the building site including, for example, one of the most spectacular, namely the installation of the roof structure designed according to the logic of a tensegrity structure.

(Story by Paola Ricco, The Architecture Player)


Architect: GARCIAGERMAN Arquitectos
Mentioned project: Desert City (2015-2017)
Project location: San Sebastián de los Reyes, Madrid, Spain
Team: Jacobo García-Germán, Marta García Jiménez, Laura Carrero, Miguel López, Raquel Díaz de la Campa, Lidia de Lucas, Martha Sosa Dias, Andrea Gutierrez, Victoria Álvarez, Margot Roset, Paula Lizcano, Christina Christofidou, Marta Roldán, Celia Sánchez Ylla
Consultants: Antonio Usero (strategy and management), Mario García (quantity surveyor), Felipe F. Sanz/Consult-E (structural engineer), Úrculo Ingenieros (mechanicals), Arenas Ingenieros (structural engineers greenhouse roof), Lastra & Zorrilla (tecnical development & manufacture ETFE textiles), Patricia Gammichia (landscaping), Ángel Sampedro (mobility project & traffic studies), Alberto Charlez (site manager)
Music: Charlie Mysterio
Photographs: Imagen Subliminal

Spain 2017
Duration: 1’26’’