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Studio Noju renovates apartment in brutalist Torres Blancas tower


Local firm Studio Noju has modernized a two-story Madrid apartment in the Torres Blancas high-rise with a renovation that remains “in constant dialogue” with the apartment’s original design.

Designed in 1961 by architect Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oíz, Torres Blancas is a 71-meter-high exposed concrete tower with cylindrical shapes that create spherical balconies on the facade and curved chambers inside.

Studio Noju renovated the largest apartment in Torres Blancas

Studio Noju overhauled the 1040 unit — the largest apartment in the Brutalist building — to balance history with contemporary design details, the company said.

“Our interior design proposal for the apartment is inspired by the original ideas the architect came up with for the building,” studio co-founder Antonio Mora told Dezeen.

Indoor-outdoor shot of the round apartment, with green tiles on the floor
Restored terrace space is characterized by green tiles

A key part of the project was the expansion of the first floor apartment’s exterior space from 15 to nearly 80 square meters to create the amount of outdoor space that existed before several previous renovations to the tower.

This extension added terraces characterized by curved floor-to-ceiling glazing and crimson slatted shutters. These open onto gleaming green ceramic tiles that reference 1960s interiors and form built-in benches, fountains and planters that follow the meandering contours of the terraces.

Semi-circular foyer with red wine paneling in apartment Torres Blancas
Visitors enter a semi-circular foyer

“The outdoor spaces have been reconsolidated into a continuous terrace that follows the contours of the original plan,” explains Mora, who founded Studio Noju in 2020 with Eduardo Tazón.

“There is a constant dialogue between many of the solutions we have proposed in apartment interior design with those proposed by Sáenz de Oiza more than 50 years ago.”

White structural walls with yellow vents snake around the first floor of Apartment Unit 1040
White walls and ceilings create an airy open plan first floor

Visitors enter the apartment through a semi-circular foyer with Segovia black slate and burgundy paneling – the same materials used in the building’s common areas.

The open ground floor is interrupted by winding white structural walls, such as a living room divider with repetitive circular openings.

Mint green continuous counter top from Studio Noju in Torres Blancas
The kitchen is formed from a continuous worktop

A continuous bespoke countertop with a subtle green tint forms the kitchen, with a striking spherical sink that echoes the cylindrical facade of Torres Blancas.

The light bounces off the original tinted glass and brick windows, illuminating the smooth resin floor and metal wall accents.

Floating staircase placed against oak paneling in apartment by Studio Noju
Studio Noju saved an original copper banister for the stairs

White geometric steps create a floating staircase with an original polished brass handrail leading to the first floor. Upstairs, a succession of bedrooms is characterized by oak ceilings that contrast with the stark white ceilings on the ground floor.

Each bathroom is playfully color-coded with individual mosaics of clear tiles, complete with wall lamps, mirrors and cabinets that follow the rounded shapes found throughout the apartment.

Amber light shines through original windows in the apartment's bathroom designed by Studio Noju
Each bathroom has color coded tiles

“The [mosaic] material allowed us to solve all elements of the bathroom, such as shower areas, sinks, walls and floors, referring to a similar material strategy used in the original design,” said Mora.

Adjoining the master bedroom, the first floor terrace features a large green-tiled outdoor bath, wrapped in a translucent curtain, which is flanked by plants positioned to absorb the water produced by bathing.

“The element we are most proud of is the sense of a home patio that has been found in the apartment,” reflected Mora.

“The unit again revolves around the outdoor spaces, and these seem to blend into the interior through the curving tracks of green tiles that enter and exit the living room and dining room,” the architect added.

“Our biggest challenge was finding a balance between honoring the building, but at the same time imbuing the interior design with our language.”

Outdoor pool with green tiles on the terrace in the Torres Blancas building
The terrace on the first floor features an outdoor pool

Studio Noju showed a similar colorful style in its debut project, which involved the renovation of an open-plan apartment in Seville.

Torres Blancas was one of the buildings captured by photographer Roberto Conte in his series of brutalist buildings in Madrid.

The photography is by Jose Hevia.