Breathing New Life into the Banco Hispano Americano building

Madrid, Spain

In addition to El Palacio de la Equitativa, the other most recognised element of the Centro Canalejas project, which includes Four Seasons Hotel Madrid, is the original Banco Hispano Americano headquarters building, designed by Eduardo de Adaro y Magro as a landmark equal to its neighbour El Palacio. Today, this building can be seen facing the Plaza Canalejas, and forms the main entrance to La Galería shopping mall.

The first stone for the building was laid in 1902, and the building was designed with dedicated areas for the bank’s activities, offices and rented apartments. The main banking floor was a double-level height, including ground floor and mezzanine. In the 1940s, the Banco Hispano Americano bought the adjacent plot and appointed architect Manuel Ignacio Galíndez Zabala to join the two buildings, as well as completely remodel the bank’s interior.

In 1942, the Bank also took over the former headquarters of the Banco Sainz to construct a new building, also designed by Manuel Ignacio Galíndez Zabala, connecting with other buildings in the Calle Alcalá and Carrera de San Jerónimo. The Credit Lyonnais building, designed by José Urioste y Velada, was the next to be acquired by Banco Hispano Americano, giving it an expanded presence on both sides of the block.

And finally, the Banco Zaragozano building, constructed between 1936 and 1942 by architect Roberto García Ochoa Platas and featuring an impressive relief showing visual representations of banking, economy, progress and future among other elements, was connected to the others in the early 1980s, enlarging the footprint even further and becoming the final piece in the puzzle of the seven buildings that now make up Centro Canalejas.

16,700 historical elements have been preserved and restored, including stained glass windows, plasterwork and metalwork, have been reinstalled throughout the building, creating a connection to the fascinating history of the building as it enters a new era.