The twin office towers known as Puerta de Europa I and II located in Madrid, Spain defy the typical conventions of skyscraper construction. Designed by American architects Philip Johnson & John Burgee and commissioned by the Kuwait Investment Office (KIO), these structural expressionistic towers straddle one of Madrid’s most important boulevards – the Paseo de la Castellana.
The location of a subway interchange made the placement of the two towers near the street impossible. Their bold design is in part a response to the need for the footprints of the towers to be set back from the interchange while at the same time bringing the towers together as a single compositional whole. The towers lean towards each other and over the plazas, ensuring their visibility from up and down the Paseo and creating a portal which, being at the Northern end of the business district of Madrid, has been called a metaphorical gateway to Europe. The façade of each tower is a composition of a major grid -clad in stainless steel conforming to their structure-, a minor grid of red mullions, and a third grid comprising the light grey mullions of the curtain wall.