The Beti-Jai court, the Bakery House, or the Escuelas Pías de San Fernando. Throughout my career as a construction manager, I have had the opportunity to work on many iconic buildings in Madrid, the city where I was born, a city I love and enjoy.
Ever since I was a kid, I have always lived close to the center of Madrid. I’ve been through the same places hundreds of times, I’ve seen areas like Matadero resurface, and I’ve witnessed the creation of new infrastructure like Madrid Rio, which is wonderful. When I was a child, I went to Plaza Mayor with my family to pick out a Christmas tree. For me, that was such a special day: we went around and around the square to get a good look at all the trees and find the best one.
Working on buildings that have always been a part of my life and have been the settings for different stories throughout history is important to me. And it all started when I finished my technical architecture degree and joined the Ferrovial team.
A career that would show me Madrid
When I was little, I liked humanities just as much as sciences. I always thought I would have to do two things in life: I wanted to be a journalist and also study something related to science. I also liked computer science, computers, and the idea of programming. Finally, someone asked me, “Why not do technical architecture?”
My career would come to another turning point years later; as I finished my technical architecture studies, I found out that they were looking for interns at Ferrovial. I joined the company and ended up becoming one of their construction managers. When I started, it took three months to find boots in my size. It was so hard for them that when they finally got them, the owner of the hardware store personally delivered two pairs to me in case the first one broke. Little by little, we have kept breaking down these types of barriers.
In this position, I have been able to work on many projects in Madrid, ranging from stands in soccer fields to the facades of Plaza Mayor. These projects have let me see my city with fresh eyes, from another point of view. This has been made possible thanks to teamwork with people who know how to move each part of the chain and connect it so that everything works.
The most unforgettable projects
Choosing one project out of all the ones I have participated in is difficult. One that was quite satisfying was the Beti-Jai court, a building that is part of our historical heritage in Madrid and which had been abandoned for almost 100 years. When we first got there, it looked like a concrete jungle. To be able to go now and see how the court has been reborn is amazing.
In terms of iconic projects, the undisputed winner would be Plaza Mayor. We started working there in 2015 to renovate the roofs of the Bakery House, the oldest building in the entire square. Then, another contract had us renovate the other facades.
This job entailed many challenges. While we were working there, life went on as usual in the square. The terraces and bars kept bustling, and the waiters and others passed by where we set up scaffolding, moved machinery, and stored materials. The hoteliers worked with us a lot, and we managed to coordinate our work with the other activities in the square while ensuring everyone’s safety.
Another challenge was the “fraileros” or shutters for the balconies in Plaza Mayor. These were taken off one by one, numbered, restored, and put back in their original place.
We also came across some very interesting things. While renovating the roofs of the Bakery House, for instance, we discovered an inscription on the ball crowning the spires: the signatures of workers who had worked on the previous restoration carried out around the year 1900. The workers had left their very own graffiti with their names and their professions. And we ended up seeing it all those years later.
When the confinement ended, the first place I went back to was Plaza Mayor. It is one of my favorite places in Madrid, a city that’s very much my own because I’ve lived there since I was little. The feeling of having been a part of this square’s renovation, knowing that it will be not only part of my personal life but also my professional history from now on, is indescribable. I am so proud to work in Madrid.