11 March Memorial Madrid
Av. Ciudad de Barcelona junto al Intercambiador de RENFE, Madrid
Year of construction
Short description of the replacement or dismantling
The memorial was inaugurated at the very site across from the round train station building on March 11 2007, the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks. It is an oval shaped glass cylinder that weighs 140 tons, is 11 meters high and has a diameter of 8 by 10.5 meters.
Name of the client/building owner
Madrid City Council and RENFE
Function of building
Historical buildings & monuments
Degree of enclosure
Fully enclosed structure
Mediterranean - mild winters, dry hot summers
Number of layers
Type of application of the membrane
Primary function of the tensile structure
- Space defining elements
The complete monument consists of two parts, the glass cylinder and an underground presentation room. Both parts are linked together by a round window. This is designed to create the impression that the memorial, as a “shimmer of hope”, rises up towards the city from the depth of the train station, the “site of sorrow”. Inside the glass cylinder, spontaneous expressions of sorrow from citizens were engraved into a transparent plastic film. Each day at sunrise and sunset, the incident light illuminates these, thanks to the transparency and illuminating power of the glass construction.
The luminous monument is built of 15000 curved glass blocks glued together with a liquid-acrylic material hardened by ultraviolet lamps. Inside the tower, an ETFE membrane (ETFE 150 µ, 97% transparency ) is printed with hundreds of messages left at the station by mourners in the days after the bombings. Thousands of messages of condolence made in the days after the attacks are inscribed on the inside of the tower. The cylinder of transparent ETFE is a pneumatic construction stabilized by the higher air pressure in the commemorative space.
Sunshine hitting the column of glass bricks focuses light into an empty, blue chamber below a busy highway, which the public can access via Atocha station. From below, visitors can peer skywards to read hundreds of messages of condolence and support wrapped around the inside of the cylinder. After dark, the volume radiates softly in the sky from lights in the opening at its base; during the day, sunlight produces an ethereal glow as it filters through the glass tower and reflects off the deep blue surfaces in the underground chamber.
All day long visitors stream through a double set of steel-and-glass security doors into the chamber, which is large enough to accommodate up to 200 at a time, and gaze upwards into the dazzling light. The otherwise dark chamber with blue walls, ceiling and floor, has no furniture apart from a long blackcoated steel bench with circular concave indents where one can sit in contemplation of life and death. Names of all the victims are engraved on a frosted glass panel between the first and second entrance doors.
Description of the environmental conditions
Material of the cover
Main dimensions and form
Maximum height (m)
Duration of use
Temporary or permanent structure
FAM Arquitectura y Urbanismo S.L.
schlaich bergermann partner
Marijke M. Mollaert