Desert City

Desert City is a celebration of xerophytic plants and the production of a whole culture of interests and events around them. The project proposes an commercial, educational, sustainable and ecological complex in which to overlap activities that range from the exhibiting, growing and breeding of cactus from all over the world in a large garden and greenhouse, to housing an array of leisure activities such as presentations, small conventions, workshops or exhibitions. The large building contains, besides the greenhouse and exhibition/sales space, restaurant, shop, storage, and office areas.
These activities are sheltered by a lightweight container that responds, in terms of scale and materiality, to the near presence of the A-1 Highway. A “billboard-building”, parallel to the road, and acting as a filter between the harsh and infrastructural condition of the highway and the limit of the huge green pocket formed by the Parque Regional de la Cuenca Alta del Manzanares, on the other side. The complex is structured internally by a sequence of symmetries organized around a cloister-like cactus garden, which receives newcomers, and the greenhouse space, covered by a cable roof designed according to the logic of tensegrity structures.
Despite its hybrid program, the complex’s construction is systematized through repetition, modulation and prefabrication of elements, resulting in a huge abstract stretched out skeleton that communicates its intense inner workings and the veiled presence of greenery as seen from the passing car through a tinted, watery glass facade. Construction incorporates sustainable solutions such as transparent photovoltaic glass, geothermal power, water recovery systems, solar controls, and extensive plantings in the site, originally a wasteland.

PROJECT: Xerophytic plant greenhouse and garden + I+D programme + ludic-educational programme + restaurant
STATUS: Under construction (2015-17)
CLIENT: Desert City S.L.
LOCATION: San Sebastián de los Reyes, Madrid
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, 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)
BUILDER: Isolux Corsán

Architects: GARCIAGERMAN Architects

+34 915 638 845
C/ Arga 23
28002, Madrid, SPAIN

Jacobo García-Germán Vázquez (Madrid, 1974) es doctor arquitecto, Master en Historia y Teoría, y profesor de Proyectos Arquitectónicos en la Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (ETSAM), así como profesor invitado en numerosas universidades españolas e internacionales. Director de GARCIAGERMAN ARQUITECTOS, su obra ha obtenido, entre otros reconocimientos, Premio COAM, Premio FAD, Premio de la XIV Bienal Española de Arquitectura y Urbanismo o Shortlist del Premio Mies van der Rohe. Es autor de varios libros y de textos de investigación publicados en medios especializados, habiendo sido director de Arquitectura, revista oficial del Colegio de Arquitectos de Madrid (COAM). Posee una trayectoria paralela como comisario de arquitectura y ha formado parte del Comité Científico del Pabellón Español de la XV Bienal de Arquitectura de Venecia 2016 que obtuvo el León de Oro.