Comunicados de Prensa

Universidad Europea professors and students win the bid to remodel Plaza España

- The team is primarily comprised of young architects and engineers, trained at Universidad Europea, and also of students.

- The Project will dedicate 90% of the area to pedestrians, reduce traffic by half, plant another thousand trees, connect the major green areas in the vicinity, dig a tunnel and remove all architectural barriers.

The people of Madrid have chosen a project closely linked to the Universidad Europea to remodel the Plaza de España. Proof of this are the 107,751 votes the Project by Fernandez-Ordóñez and Porras-Islas received from citizens living in the capital. The proposal, represented by the slogan “Welcome Mother Nature”, won the public vote organized by Madrid City Council to choose the best idea to modernize the Plaza de España. With 63.5% of the votes to decide the best proposal, compared to the 36.5% received by the second-placed project, the design devised by the Porras La Casta Arquitectos and Estudio Guadiana architectural studios will give this symbolic space in the city its own light. 

In addition to the leading architects, the team also includes the following alumni from the Universidad Europea: José Caso, Borja García, Laura García, Miguel García, Paula Manzano, Gabriel Martos, Sara Núñez, Jaime Querol and Raquel Serrano, and students Alicia Buades, Mariana Gella, Pablo Ferreira and Ernst Hansen. This group of young professionals is completed with a small number of students from ETSAM and the Toledo School of Architecture.

The project: an open, green and integrating square

The proposal that was approved by the people of Madrid is defined as an open, green and integrating project, which offers an ambitious and contemporary plan for one of the capital city’s most symbolic locations. 

The project, which was also chosen by a public vote from the best of the over 70 projects initially submitted, and was then selected by a jury of expert professionals, will create a circular square connected to the Gran Vía. It will be able to host all kinds of events as its flooring is equipped with technology that can serve the many and varied activities that can be scheduled in the square.

The winning project also proposes a lush park connecting the square with the Sabatini gardens or the Parque del Oeste, perfectly respecting the existing trees and increasing their number by another thousand. It proposes installing a children’s play area, space for the elderly and resting areas under the trees, which will be shady in the summer and sunny in the winter.

Pedestrian and accessible to all

By extending the tunnel under the Plaza de Oriente to Ferraz, the new square regenerates the relationship between Calle Bailén, making it fully pedestrian and accessible, with the Sabatini gardens, which will be revitalized with a unique multimedia library with spectacular views of the Royal Palace and the Campo del Moro. The proposal by Porras La Casta and Estudio Guadiana will also connect Madrid Rio with Plaza de España and the Sabatini gardens with a new path for pedestrians and cyclists, providing a sweeter connection with the Cuesta de San Vicente.

The project reduces traffic around the square by half and dedicates 90% of the surface area to pedestrians. It also proposes a participation process so that the voice of the public does not end by choosing the winning idea, but will still be heard to define the design, control the work and schedule future events in the square. The winning project stresses the need to use recycled materials, recover rain water and manage waste in the park for its own maintenance.

Madrid Río and Tindaya Mountain

Lorenzo Fernández-Ordóñez and Fernando Porras-Isla have been working together at their office in Madrid for several years, and they currently direct, together with other professors from the Universidad Europea, Pedro Pablo Arroyo, Francisco Domouso and José Luis E. Penelas, a project of the School of Doctoral Studies and Research, to be implemented in the Chinese city of Shanghai, which includes designing seven bridges.

Architect Lorenzo Fernández-Ordóñez works at Estudio Guadiana ( and has collaborated with his father José A. Fernández-Ordóñez on major works such as the Padre Arrupe walkway next to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. He is also the technical manager for Eduardo Chillida’s landscaping of Tindaya mountain in Fuerteventura, which is still pending execution. 

The founders of the Porras La Casta architectural studio (, Arantxa la Casta and Fernando Porras-Isla, are joint authors of the Madrid Rio project. From 2007 to 2011 they worked on designing the Manzanares river park and directing work. They have received various awards for this project, the last one granted by Harvard University in 2016.

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