Briefs

The Metropolis Building, Madrid, Spain.

The Metropolis Building is considered to be the most emblematic of Madrid, Spain. Its actual physical address is 39 Alcalá Street, despite that many believe it is on the “Gran Via” (Grand Avenue). The building was designed by the famous French Architects Jules and Raymond Février by means of a contest. Various architectural styles were employed such as Roman, Beaux Arts and Neo-Roman. Its construction was ordered by the insurance company “La Unión y el Fénix” in 1907. Work was finally completed in 1910 under the eyes of the Spaniard Luis Esteve Fernández-Caballero. The building was inaugurated in 1911.

It was considered the tallest building of Madrid in 1921 with a height of 25 meters having six levels. Until a change in ownership, the building was crowned with a bronze statue which represented Ganymedes, the Greek Cup-bearer of the Gods upon a Phoenix. The circular Tower bears a slate Dome with golden incrustations, similar to the helmet used by firemen and referred to as of a “Pompier (firemen in French) Style. The shining reliefs in the dome consists of 30,000 elaborated gold or gold leaves of 24 carats.

The property’s new owners, the insurance company Metrópolis, removed the sculpture of the Phoenix and replaced the same with the Winged Victory, the work of Federico Coullaut Valera. The previous owners decided to take the old statue to their new location on the Castellana Pass and the original Phoenix can be currently found in the garden of the headquarters of Mutual of Madrid at 33 Castellana Pass.

In addition to the Winged Victory, the building bears a group of another eleven sculptures. One just beneath the dome by Mariano Benlliure and the works of Saint Marceaux y L. Lambert comprised of four laterals and six on the circular gallery, roundabout or rotunda. The sculptures over the Corinthian columns represent Mining, Commerce, Agriculture and Industry.

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