Norman Foster

Ombú is a converted office building for Spanish infrastructure and energy company ACCIONA. This renovation project sets a sustainable precedent for the reuse of a historic industrial building in Madrid and the revitalization of the surrounding area.

The new office has an area of over 10,000 square meters. The green landscaping extends to the adjacent Méndez Álvaro station, bringing together a unique mix of private and public land.

When the building was built in 1905 by architect Luis de Landecho, it supplied energy to the surrounding areas. After falling into disuse, ACCIONA acquired the building in 2017 and saved it from the destruction that other similar buildings in the area had suffered in recent years.


The project capitalises on the existing load-bearing structure that supports the pitched steel trusses. The historic building envelope has been retained to conserve over 10,000 tonnes of original brick and mitigate the environmental impact.

The lightweight structure built into the site is made of sustainably sourced timber from local forests. This allows for spatial flexibility as well as lighting, ventilation and other services. Because the structure is made of wood, it saves more than 1,600 tons of CO2. It is also recyclable and demountable.

A central skylight in the building brings natural light into the interior, reducing the need for artificial lighting, while the glazing incorporates photovoltaic technologies that generate electricity.

The courtyard connects to a large 12,400 square meter park with 350 trees. The outdoor workspaces are protected by a canopy of green trees for informal meetings. In this way, the new courtyard offers the option to work comfortably outdoors.

The new green, public space connects the building with the surrounding community and creates a positive social impact. Ombú is located in a vibrant area with direct access to rail and bus networks. This encourages employees to travel by public transport.

Thanks to the green design, the project reduces embodied carbon by 25 percent over the entire lifetime of the project compared to a new building, making allowances for future renovations.