Alison Brooks and Carlos Chauca Galicia Lead Workshop for Master of Advanced Studies in Collective Housing

This June, Alison Brooks alongside Carlos Chauca Galicia, led a studio in the Master of Advanced Studies in Collective Housing – a collaborative postgraduate program for qualified architects offered by Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and ETH Zürich.

This program focuses on housing, city, and energy studies, combining practice-oriented design synthesis with integrated disciplines and theoretical issues of dwelling and housing.

In Praise of Shadows: Towers of Madrid Nuevo Norte

In the workshop, the task is to re-imagine the residential tower so that it is liveable, generous, and welcoming of shade and darkness and attuned to the climate of Madrid. The seven tower schemes will evolve the qualities of the city’s finest ‘street architecture’ to find new form and expression, giving darkness and light equal consideration.

Using the text “In Praise of Shadows” by Japanese writer Junichiro Tanizaki, the workshop also addressed the increasing reliance on tower typologies in urban development to fund economic models in Europe’s metropolitan centres. High-density residential developments reflect the costs associated with land purchase, decontamination, infrastructure installation, and the funding of social, economic, cultural, and ecological infrastructure in new neighbourhoods. Tall buildings are thus a prerequisite for new metropolitan neighbourhoods. This principle is evident in the planned regeneration of Madrid Nuevo Norte, where the central urban gesture – a new park over the rail lands – is lined with tall buildings.


The Madrid Nuevo Norte project, also known as the Chamartín project, aims to transform the northern part of Madrid into a modern, sustainable, and connected district. Covering approximately 2.3 million square meters (3.3 million including the railway tracks), it stands as one of the largest urban regeneration initiatives in Europe.

The development encompasses a new financial district along with extensive residential, commercial, and green areas. It will feature 1 million square meters of residential space, including 10,500 new housing units, 20% of which will be affordable. Additionally, there will be 1.6 million square meters of office space and 400,000 square meters dedicated to green spaces and parks.

MCH Students:

Anwar Abbassi, Kailey Akins, Derrick Christensen, Thomas Christensen, Edgardo Cruz, Viktoriia Denisova, Jose Eduardo Delgado, Julio Ferré, Pedro Gaxiola, Rafailia Mandi, Eduardo Maldonado, Karla Madrigal, Diego Martínez, Ximena Real, Elizaveta Nikolskaia, Ayush Patel, Betul Sahin, Kunal Sonawane, Sofia de Luca, Milagros Ucha, Antoine Voruz, Mariam Yasser.


Karl Mok