Top 10 Fun Facts about the Torre de Cristal in Madrid

The first thing you notice about the skyline of Spain’s capital city Madrid is that it’s dominated by a small number of amazing skyscrapers. These are located just next to each other.

One of these buildings was designed by one of the most renowned architects in history and holds a remarkable record as well.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most fun and interesting facts about the Torre de Cristal in Madrid, a structure with some interesting stories to tell.

1. It’s located in the Cuatro Torres Business Area

The Torre de Cristal is one of the 4 huge skyscrapers that dominate the skyline of Madrid. These are all located in a business district named after them called the “Cuatro Torres Business Area” or “Four Towers Business Area.”

This business district is located on the Paseo de la Castellana, a major thoroughfare in the northern part of the city.

The Torre de Cristal is a pointy skyscraper and resembles a piece of crystal. The other 3 towers are called the Torre Emperador, Torre PwC, and Torre Cepsa.

Cuatro Torres District in Madrid
The Cuatro Torres Business Area / Wiki Commons

2. It was completed in the first decade of the 21st century

This business district in the northern outskirts of Madrid is fairly new because it was only established in the early 21st century. All 4 towers were completed between 2004 and 2009.

What’s remarkable about this location is that this area was once occupied by the so-called “Ciudad Deportiva.” This was the former training complex of local football club Real Madrid until they moved to a new complex just a few kilometers to the east.

The construction of the Torre de Cristal started in 2004 and this huge office building was completed 5 years later in 2009.

Torre de Cristal under construction
The towers under construction / Wiki Commons

3. It was designed by a famous Argentine-American architect

The building was constructed by a Spanish company called “Dragados.” This construction company is part of the “ACS Group” or “Actividades de Construcción y Servicios, S.A.”

What’s remarkable is that the chairman of this company, which is headquartered in Madrid, is Florentino Perez, the president of Real Madrid.

The building has a nice modern design that was designed by the Argentine-born American architect César Pelli (1926-2019). He is world-famous as the designer of the iconic Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

More recent projects completed by Pelli are the Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City and the Salesforce Tower, the tallest skyscraper in San Francisco.

César Pelli
César Pelli / Casa Rosada / Wiki Commons

4. It became the tallest building in Spain upon completion

The 4 towers that make up the Cuatro Torres Business area don’t have the same height, so one of them has to be the tallest.

The Torre de Cristal surpassed the Torre Cepsa in 2007 with just one meter (3 feet) to reach a height of 249 meters (817 feet). This turned it into the tallest building in Spain.

Upon completion, it also became the third-tallest skyscraper in the European Union.

Today, the 4 skyscrapers in Madrid are still part of the top 20 tallest skyscrapers in the European Union, which is quite remarkable

Torre de Cristal height
The 4 towers at night / Luis Fernández García / Wiki Commons

5. A new skyscraper has joined the 4 towers since 2020

Perhaps they shouldn’t have called the newly established business district the “Cuatro Torres Business Area.” After all, there’s plenty of space here to build additional skyscrapers.

That’s exactly what happened recently because the Torre Caleido was constructed just west of the 4 towers between 2017 and 2020.

This doesn’t mean that the name of the area is completely outdated now because this skyscraper is significantly lower than its bigger brothers at a height of 181 meters (593.8 feet).

Despite this height, it’s still the 4th tallest building in Madrid and the 7th tallest structure in Spain.

Torre de Cristal and Torre Caleido
The Torre Caleido (right) / Wiki Commons

More interesting facts about the Torre de Cristal in Madrid

6. The design of the skyscraper incorporates some remarkable features. One of the most fascinating ones is that the ventilation shafts of the structure can withstand temperatures of over 400º C for up to 1 hour in case of fire.

7. The blistering sun during the hot summer months in Madrid won’t affect the energy consumption inside the building too much. The façade of the building was designed in such a way that energy costs are kept at a minimum at all times, regardless of the weather conditions.

Torre de Cristal facade
Detail of the tower’s energy-friendly façade / Wiki Commons

8. The tip of the building is slightly higher than its architectural height as it reaches 250 meters (820 feet) above the ground below. The building features 52 floors and features a total floor area of 59,827 square meters (643,970 square feet).

9. The tower is owned by KPMG International Limited, a British-Dutch multinational professional services network that has a controversial reputation across the world. The construction cost of the building was $339,590,604.

10. Despite being used as an office tower, it’s also a tourist attraction that features an observation deck at the top of the building.

Perhaps the most amazing feature inside the building is the vertical garden which covers the entire upper section of the tower between 210 and 250 meters (688 and 820 feet). This garden is magnificently illuminated at night.

Cuatros torres at night