Edificio Metrópolis, Madrid

Category: Madrid

Are you planning to visit Madrid, Spain in the near future, perhaps for business or an extended holiday? Have you mapped out the various sites and attractions you’d like to visit during your stay? If you have, hopefully you’ve included the Edificio Metrópolis on your list, one of Spain’s most recognizable and impressive structures. Below we have compiled some interesting and little-known facts about the Edificio Metrópolis, including some information regarding its location, history, owners and architectural design.

About the Edificio Metrópolis

The Edificio Metrópolis, or in English, the Metropolis Building, is a spacious office structure in Madrid, situated at the corner of the Calle de Alcala and Gran Via. Although most people commonly assume the Metropolis Building marks the beginning of the famed Gran Via, the building’s official address is Calle de Alcala 39. The Edificio Grassy, and not the Edificio Metrópolis, is the first building at the beginning of the Gran Via.

The history of the Edificio Metrópolis dates back to the beginning of the 20th century, specifically to 1905 when the group La Union y el Fenix acquired the plot of land on which the structure is now erected. In that year, they launched an international competition for the privilege to design the new building, a competition won by the architects Jules and Raymond Fervier. Construction of the Edificio Metropolis began in 1907.

La Union y el Fenix owned the Edificio Metrópolis for several decades, but when they decided to relocate their headquarters in 1972, the building was acquired by Metropolis Seguros. The previous owners took with them the now-famous statue from the Edificio Metropolis. This statue now stands proudly in the gardens surrounding the Mutua Madrilena building, located on the Paseo de la Castellana, Number 23. It depicts the mythological Phoenix and Ganymede upon its wing.

Upon purchasing the Edificio Metrópolis the new owners almost immediately began making improvements. In 1988, the façade, roof, courtyard and basement were all cleaned thoroughly, and in 1995, the very delicate job of refurbishing the primary staircase and windows was undertaken by two of the building’s original artists: Maurnjean Violieras Artisticas and Antonio Herraiz, SA. 1996 saw the most significant change to the building—a project that involved the restoration of the façade, with special attention paid to the sculptures that had gradually become damaged by pigeons and environmental pollutants.

The architectural design of the Edificio Metrópolis is what makes this building such a popular tour stop for visitors. The building features a French-Beaux Arts style that was still rare in the early 1900s, a design for which architects Jules and Raymond Fervier gained wide acclaim from the architectural community. The ground floor of the structure is topped by ornate colonnaded upper floors, and the various columns in the building lend support to 4 very detailed statues, representing Agriculture, Mining, Industry and Commerce respectively. These were sculpted by the renowned artists Saint Marceaux and I. Lambert. Tourists will especially enjoy the sculpted statue at the foot of the dome by D. Mariano Benlluire, and the rounded tower covered by 30,000 leaves made of 24-carat gold.