Between River and Rails

Between River and Rails
Photograph: Davide Curatola Soprana
29.09.2022 -15.01.2023

Tuesday - Sunday, 10 am - 8 pm

Floor 4

Free entry

Between River and Rails is an invitation to a space-time journey through the city of Madrid and its successive transformations along the Green Railway Corridor, on what were once the terraces of the Manzanares river. This area, which stretches for some 8 km between the stations of Príncipe Pío and Atocha, now has the opportunity to become a natural extension of the Madrid Río Park.

To show that this is so, the exhibition brings together more than 1000 images, plastic works from archives and documentary collections, audiovisual material and original urban photography unearthed by this research project that explores the effects of the rise and fall of industrialisation from a contemporary, post-industrial perspective and the need to re-naturalise.

9 neighbourhoods are affected Acacias, Argüelles, Casa de Campo, Chopera, Palacio, Delicias, Imperial, Legazpi and Palos de Moguer. And there are 5 stages to a story that invites us to reflect on the effects of the irruption of progress, and the speculation that surrounded it, back in the 19th century when railway lines, with all their sidings, industries and warehouses, burst onto the leisurely and agricultural landscape of Goya’s Madrid. A Madrid that became trapped between rails and wheels in 1970 when the M-30 ring road was built, just when the decline of the industrial sector was at its peak. During the 1970s and 80s, the City Council embarked on the renovation of the public space, undertaking major operations with the participation of brilliant architects and engineers who were involved in the “urban design” of the capital. This was the climate in which the operation to build the Green Railway Corridor began in 1989, the largest operation of its kind to be carried out in the region before Madrid Río Park: the freight railway line, which had carved out a trench through the urban fabric of Arganzuela, was removed in favour of a modern suburban rail network with interchanges to replace the obsolete stations. A physical barrier still remained, however, between the city and the Manzanares river. Thanks to the burying of the M-30 and the creation of the Madrid Río Park, in the first decade of the 21st century, we are today able to imagine new scenarios for the future: an urban continuum that connects the Green Railway Corridor with the banks of the river through sustainable mobility and greater biodiversity.

Between River and Rails is, in short, a proposal for an integrated return to the river, in a desirable circularity.

Graziella Trovato holds a PhD in Architecture and teaches at the Polytechnic University of Madrid. She curated the Architetti italiani in Spagna oggi exhibition along with the Instituto Cervantes. She supervised the Catalogue of Contemporary, Industrial and Commercial Architecture of the PGOU (General Plan for Urban Zoning) of Madrid (2014-15). Lead researcher of the TRAin HEritage REuse project (TRAHERE, financed by the Community of Madrid through a Pluriannual Agreement with the Polytechnic University of Madrid in its line of action ‘Programme of Excellence for University Teaching Staff’, within the framework of the V PRICIT V Regional Plan for Scientific Research and Technological Innovation) which has spawned this exhibition project.