Faro de Moncloa
The Faro de Moncloa is also known as
"La Torre de Iluminación y Comunicaciones del Ayuntamiento de Madrid". It is located on Avenida Reyes Católicos, actually stands in the Plaza De Moncloa at the junction of the Avenida de los Reyes Católicos, Highway A-6 and the Avenida de la Victoria in the Moncloa-Aravaca district of Madrid. Standing opposite Faro de Moncloa is the American Museum and the Library of the AECI.
It is currently closed to the public, but in the last 2 years has been renovated and will hopefully open again in the next few months (it was supposed to be ready by the end of 2011), when it will be possible to go up the tower for some spectacular views of Madrid, and enjoy a meal at the restaurant at the top.
This transmission tower stands 110 metres high. It has an observation deck with 400 square meters of surface area, accessible by a lift inside the main shaft. From the observation deck visitors have excellent views of northwest Madrid and the surrounding Guadarrama mountains.
The view from one side of this Faro de Moncloa allows you to see the Arco del Triunfo de Moncloa, Madrid's Royal Palace, the Almudena Cathedral, the grand Telefonica building on Gran Via and the Picasso tower and the other skyscrapers on the Castellana, whereas on the other side you can see the snowy tops (in Winter) of the Madrid Sierra.
The architect for the project was Salvador Pérez Arroyo. In 1990 he was commissioned to design the structure in preparation for Madrid being the European Capital of Culture in 1992. The impressive structure comprising 1,200 cubic metres of concrete and 10,000 tonnes of steel was inaugurated in February 1992. It was then known as the Faro de la Moncloa.
The design of Faro de Moncloa caused considerable controversy when it was built. There were those who felt that it broke the aesthetics of the area, looking too metallic and futuristic amid the more conservative buildings of the area. Strong winds that hit Madrid shortly after it was opened caused several large metal plates from the upper parts of the building to come loose and crash to the ground. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
The traffic junction at Avenida de los Reyes Católicos, Highway A-6 and Avenida de la Victoria is extremely busy. While Faro de Moncloa was principally designed as a high point for holding transmission antennas, it also serves as an illumination source for the busy traffic junction below. Twenty projector lamps with a combined capacity of 40,000 watts light up the area. It is mainly for this reason that it is called Faro, or Lighthouse, de Moncloa.
Faro de Moncloa was closed to the public in 2005, This followed the fire that started late on Saturday night of February 12, 2005 in the Windsor Tower in the AZCA commercial business area. As a result of this blaze that destroyed the Windsor Tower, fire regulation were tightened and Faro de Moncloa was then found to be in breach of the rules of Madrid City Hall. One of the main reasons was the spiral staircase within the shaft of the building that is only 80 centimetres wide.
Faro de Moncloa can be reached by Metro, lines 3 and 6, at the
Moncloa station a short distance southeast of the building. There is also an excellent bus service to Faro de Moncloa on buses 44, 46, 82, 84, 132 and 133.