Text and photo: Eduardo González
“You are not responsible for the face you see in the mirror, but you are responsible for the face you make in it”, warned not long ago the psychiatrist and writer Jesús J. de la Gándara. In the case of the photograph illustrating this text, the face is that of a church classified as Heritage of Cultural Interest and the mirror a modern and “intelligent” building for the exclusive use of high-ranking offices located at the Goya street, in the centre of Madrid.
The Basilica of La Concepción is considered the most important parish church of the district of Salamanca, as it appears on the database of the School of Architects of Madrid. It was built between 1902 and 1910 in the gothic style and with modern decorative details. Its tower is more than 40 metres high and it has an iron structure crowned with an effigy of the Purísima Concepción. The church was inaugurated in 1914 by King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, one hundred years before Pope Francis elevated it to the level of minor basilica.
Almost contiguous to the church there is a “singular intelligent” and “representative building” that “combines installations of advanced technology with all the comforts required by “representative offices”, as it appears on the property websites managing the rent of the aforementioned offices.
Among the most outstanding characteristics of the building are its façade made of limestone of Silos, its front door and its Italian travertine marble vestibules and, very especially, its silicone curtain wall. The wall, made with structural purposes, has become the mirror in which its neighbour, the Basilica of La Concepción, plays to look like the church of Auvers-sur-Oise, of Van Gogh.