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Matadero cineteca & contemporary art centre, Madrid


a scene out of “Cosmopolis” into a movie by Godard

By  Churtichaga + Quadra-Salcedo, the 1908-built slaughterhouse and livestock market of Arganzuela transformed into an art centre / cinema.

Woven irrigation pipes, which recall the old art of interwoven baskets; bare-faced brick walls; kilns (i.e. ovens), as a reminder of the Matadero’s old function. 

The fragile balance among the different finishes, materials, lights, spacious volumes and their industrial scale make up for a seductive place,  especially for them vintage-lovers, and a spectacular effect. 

For a cultural complex that exudes nostalgia – from the use of poor materials as a reminder of craftsmanship and popular techniques, to the paved piazza in front – the clash with contemporary art forms and sustainability issues is a remarkable and pleasant surprise.

Matadero, Madrid - Churtichaga + Quadra-Salcedo (Detail)Where do these unprecedented interiors come from?

Innovation in Detail.

The backlight and contrast of films; a childhood fascination with basketry and weaving; non-finite geometries. The architects said they were inspired by Rembrandt’s “Carcass of beef”, a painting that incorporates backlight on gored cow for dramatic effect.

“It wasn’t a literal interpretation, but the paining was in our subconscious”.

The illuminated orange structures dominate the three floors of the film archive, which are dimly lit and lined with grey pine wood. Woven walls also surround the two auditoriums but are painted black so as not to detract from the screens. The exposed bricks of the old slaughterhouse’s walls are the background on which lighting and materials are added, merging the original function with a new and innovative look.

Dedicated to non-fiction and experimental cinema, the cineteca includes 2 movie theaters, a movie studio and a café, a free-to-browse film archive, it is said that the Matadero used to inspire cineastes long before it became a cineteca: “They would shoot war films here, when it was an abandoned lot.” And as it turnes out, it’s only appropriate that this is where Pedro Almodovar shot some scenes for his film “Matador” in 1986…

Matadero, Madrid - Churtichaga + Quadra-Salcedo (plaza view)



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