Carlos Arniches Moltó, Martín Domínguez Esteban
Eduardo Torroja Miret
AGROMAN, building contractor, Sociedad Española para el Fomento de la Cría Caballar y Patrimonio Nacional
Concrete by reinforcement
Concrete is a relatively brittle material that is strong in compression but less so in tension.
To increase its overall strength, steel rods, wires, mesh or cables may be embedded in concrete before it sets. This reinforcement, often known as rebar, resists tensile forces. By forming a strong bond, the two materials are able to resist a variety of applied forces, effectively acting as a single structural element .
In this case, the concrete can be made by mixing the components directly on site, or it may be transported from a production plant in concrete-mixer trucks.
This method has the disadvantage of leaving the concrete exposed to the elements while it is setting. Whereas, with other methods, the environmental conditions can be controlled during setting, providing greater control over the outcome, with cast-in-place concrete a series of tests and protocols are necessary to verify its final strength.
- textured walls
- wooden formwork finish
- stamped concrete
- exposed aggregate concrete, colored concrete, etc.
The construction of cantilevers creates structures that protrude from their supports without external reinforcements, contrasted with constructions supported at both ends, where the load is distributed between them, like in the case of a beam or a lintel. Formal strategies can be used to improve the structural performance of the cantilever and reduce thicknesses.
A suspended roof refers to the case where the vertical supports do not rest on the ground but hang from a structure above. Steel cables are often used for these supports, since they are only subject to traction forces.
In this case, the strategy involves folding a hypothetical flat surface (a plate or membrane) to increase its inertia. This allows for saving material and achieving increasingly lightweight structures.
State of Conservation
During the Second Spanish Republic, just before the Civil War, a competition was held to replace the old existing horseracing track on Paseo de la Castellana and move it to the Monte de El Pardo. Shortly after construction began, it was interrupted by the military uprising and, later on, the site became a battleground during the fascist siege of the city of Madrid. The architects Carlos Arniches and Martín Domínguez – who had won the competition, together with the engineer Eduardo Torroja – were stripped of their qualifications and could not finish the project.
Despite the difficulties in its construction, the racetrack is a masterpiece of 20th-century architecture in Spain. The design mixes abstract and avant-garde language with figurative elements that tie in with tradition. The racetrack is also noteworthy for its delicate landscaping, as well as for the rationality of its programmatic and functional approach, and, it goes without saying, for the beauty and simplicity of the spectacular shade structure over the grandstands. From the time of its opening, the segregation of the different circulations in section generated a new standard for the racetrack typology.
Eduardo Torroja took to the structural calculation of concrete to its limits in the grandstands with their famous section. The stands and roofs (and the betting rooms below them) form a structural system, while at the same time responding to functional and programmatic requirements. The reinforced concrete structure of the roofs is only six centimeters thick at the end of the cantilevers, and it relies on its folded shape to improve its strength and structural performance. Torroja’s masterful design is rounded out by a pair of pillars, one working in tension and the other in compression, and a delicate design that ensures the counterweights necessary to balance the structure.
Avenida del Padre Huidobro s/n. A6 kilómetro 8
Madrid 28023 Madrid
Fundación DOCOMOMO Ibérico