Clients: Politecnico di Milano, ETSA Madrid
Location: Madrid, Spain
Climate: Continental, Temperate
Materials: Concrete, Metal
Visualizer: Alessandro Musolino Images
Scale: 10.000 ㎡ Large
Types: Education, Research center
The Deep Space Communication Complex, in the Madrid countryside, represents one of the most historically, culturally and environmentally significant sites in the region. The complex consists of a total of eight antennas with sizes between 72m and 35m in diameter, was inaugurated in 1964 and is part of the Deep Space Network (DSN) program along with the Goldstone (GDSCC) and Canberra (CDSCC) complexes.
This communications center is used to send and receive radio signals for many of Nasa’s ongoing or completed space missions. Its first antenna, named DSS-61 was installed in 1965 for the Mariner mission and is currently used in the educational project called “PARTNeR.” Other antennas, such as DSS-66 and DSS-63, were installed to support the Apollo 11 mission. The project is situated at the intersection of the local and the universal, the global and the regional, with the intention of including Deep Space as part of its specific context, configuring itself as a point of close relationship between humans, our planet, and the discoveries related to the Universe whose origins are being studied.
The design investigation implements this pursuit through constraints and resources aimed at producing new technical, structural and conceptual solutions without losing the necessity given by the context to maintain a focus on it. The new research center is extended with new receptive and residential functions for researchers, it moves from the scale of the landscape, to the architectural scale confronting a “supertechnological” poetics of the astronomical devices in the area. These two extremes are united by the empty “urban” public and private space within.
A la manière of Ray and Charles Eames in “The Powers of ten,” the project proposes to challenge the concept of scale: from the Universe, astronomical exploration to create an architectural dimension that includes both the terrestrial and celestial landscape.