Plaza de Dali in Madrid

Architect Francisco Mangado strikes a balance between architecture and art in Madrid’s Plaza de Dalí.

Plaza de Dali in Madrid

Plaza de Dalí is the unofficial name for the greater part of the brief thoroughfare Avenida de Felipe II; the name was acquired in 1986 when the Dolmen sculptural group, made up of the Dolmen and Homage to Newton statues, was presented by Salvador Dalí to the city and placed at the avenue’s eastern end. At the same time the area around the sculptures was repaved. However, by the start of the 2000s the flagstones were already becoming eroded, and along with other problems, this forced the Madrid authorities to take the decision to redevelop the area.

The townspeople came out against these plans, believing that it would upset Dalí’s original concept; however, the city council successfully proved that the maestro had not been involved in choosing a base for his sculptures, rather merely indicating that they should stand on a hard surface rather than on a lawn. Yet Francisco Mangado, entrusted with the project of renovating Plaza de Dalí, nevertheless approached the Dolmen carefully and made minimal alteration to its immediate environment. In other respects the space of the plaza demanded a radical new solution, although the architect’s creative freedom was rigidly restricted by the existing urban infrastructure.

Sculpture entitled ‘Homage to Isaac Newton’ and Salvador Dalí’s dolmen by the entrance to the sports complex in the western part of the Plaza de Dalí

Sculpture entitled ‘Homage to Isaac Newton’ and Salvador Dalí’s dolmen by the entrance to the sports complex in the western part of the Plaza de Dalí © Miguel de Guzmán /

Artificial ‘island mound’

Artificial ‘island mound’ © Miguel de Guzmán /

Close up of the square

Close up of the square © Miguel de Guzmán /

Main image: © Miguel de Guzmán /