Edificio Telefónica is located in Gran Vía Avenue. It has been the skyline of Madrid since it was built in the 1920´s and it was one of the first skyscrapers constructed in Europe. During three decades it was the tallest building in Madrid until Edificio España was built which was superior in height. When Edificio Telefónica was built, it gave Madrid an important modern and technological boost. Nowadays, we cannot imagine the centre of Madrid without its outline or without the red lights of its clock at night. Today, we are going to write about Edificio Telefónica. In the section of Places with History, we have already spoken about Teatro de la Zarzuela.
THE AUTOMATIC TELEPHONY SYSTEM APPEARS ON THE SCENE
The architect Luis Ignacio de Cárdenas, finished the construction of Edificio Telefónica ( the head office of Compañía Telefónica de España ), at the end of 1929, after three years of hard work. In 1928, King Alfonso XIII made the first telephone call to North America and spoke to the President. In 1930, Madrid had the most emblematic and avant-garde building in Spain. It was 90 metres high and it had 1.800 employees, many of whom were women who worked as telephone operators. This fact was unusual at the time, because until then, few women had been integrated in the labour market. When Edificio Telefónica was finished, the automatic telephony system took effect and this enabled any subscriber to communicate with another.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
We must highlight the neo-baroque façade of Edificio Telefónica. However, its height and its size prevents you from contemplating it in a comfortable way. This is due to the fact that in Gran Vía Avenue you cannot move away in order to achieve a complete perspective. The plot of land upon which it is built is 2.280 m2. The building itself has a ground floor, two basements and it is thirteen storeys high. There is a half-kilometre gallery in the underground which goes to Puerta del Sol and communicates with Edificio de la Gobernación. Technologically and architecturally speaking, Edificio Telefónica created a great revolution in Madrid when it was built.
AN IMPROVISED SHELTER
Funnily enough, we can mention that the basements of Edificio Telefónica became shelters during the bombing of Madrid in the Spanish Civil War.
Picture 01: pegatina1
Pictutre 02: JasonParis
Picture 03: Antonio Tajuelo