Nicole Jewell

Nicole Jewell

Nicole graduated from Georgia State University with a Post Graduate degree in Spanish to English Translation and a B.A. in Spanish and International Business. Presently living in Madrid, Nicole works as a freelance writer and translator and enjoys traveling around the Iberian peninsula taking photos of Spain's rich blend of historic and modern architecture. Her articles and photos have been published in various trade publications and websites.

Kursaal Convention Center and Auditorium, San Sebastian

Mon, Jun 18, 2012

Where an architect created harmony and balance, locals see discord and ostentation.

San Sebastian, in Spain’s Basque country, is one of those incredibly majestic places you can visit once and never forget. Unlike many of Spain’s Mediterranean towns that have been massively overdeveloped over the years, San Sebastian still offers breathtaking beaches and wide boulevards, perfect for that famed Spanish strolling. The city of San Sebastian has class, style, and, of course, spectacular views of the Bay of Biscay. It’s easy to see, then, why local residents are quite protective of any development proposals in their idyllic hometown.

Madrid’s Sustainable Petrol Station

Wed, May 02, 2012

Gas station design is about to experience a major shift. Madrid’s BREEAM-certified Repsol station demonstrates what may be on the horizon, both in terms of building design and what is for sale at the pump.

For most, gas stations may not come to mind when talking about exceptional green design, especially these days. Gas prices are continuously soaring, and we are more commonly wide-eyed at the outrageous prices than at the eco-friendly qualities or pleasing aesthetics of these in-and-out petrol ports.

Barcelona’s Forum by Herzog & de Meuron

Wed, Mar 28, 2012

Beset by problems early on, Herzog and de Meuron's Barcelona Forum building has become an admired work of architecture as well as a destination spot, situated as it is next to a busy convention area.

Let’s face it – it’s not easy to stand out architecturally in Barcelona. The city’s architecture portfolio includes some of the most diverse and historical architectural projects in the world. Antoni Gaudí’s exquisite creations, like the Sagrada Família, Casa Batlló, and Casa Milà, have firmly established Barcelona’s reputation as an architectural haven. However, it’s not all Modernisme and Gothic revival in this Mediterranean coastal city. In fact, Barcelona’s 21st century architecture has been making its mark on the city’s impressive architectural scene for years.

Madrid’s Industrial Evolution: El Matadero

Thu, Mar 01, 2012

Madrid’s Matadero, or slaughterhouse, has been renovated to serve as a social and cultural space, but remembrances of its macabre past remain.

One part of a renovation project has nothing to do with heavy machinery, building materials, or even endless CAD documents. It’s that challenging moment that occurs with every repurposing plan, when planners must decide exactly what percentage of the original building will stay and what should be discarded. How much of the building’s original essence is relevant within the new design?

Alarcón New Cultural Centre

Mon, Jan 30, 2012

As Madrid’s population continues to expand, its suburban areas are becoming more and more popular with those looking for affordable housing outside the city limits. However, these neighborhoods, while more economically practical, have long been plagued with the cookie cutter design all too often seen these days. Full of generic residential developments and chain restaurants, these areas have very little character and no touristic value; as such, they have been dealt a short hand in the design game.

Madrid’s New Market Trend

Mon, Dec 19, 2011

At the heart of any city is its marketplace. Madrid remakes some of its classic markets while adding modern twists.

Never one to be outdone by its neighbor Barcelona, Madrid is seeing its own market makeover craze. Two newly refurbished markets have risen from the brink of ruin to become the latest gourmet hot spots – the San Miguel Market and the San Antón Market.

Barcelona’s Santa Caterina Market

Thu, Nov 17, 2011

This renovation of a market in Spain preserved more than just a historic building. Restoring the Santa Caterina Market's prominence as a commercial venue has helped to preserve a traditional way of life.

Very few countries are better than Spain at taking the old and transforming it into the new. Currently, this trend has found a new focus – the neighborhood market. Before the chain supermarkets or giant shopping centers began to eat up every available space in town, every neighborhood had its local market. These old (and usually somewhat decrepit) markets have suffered years of neglect and seen hard economic times for private vendors. Now these almost abandoned markets are ripe for the picking, and architects and designers alike are vying for a chance to get their hands on the vast open space that is typical of these buildings.

Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences

Mon, Oct 03, 2011

Brain-storming about urban revitalization commonly results in a myriad of creative proposals, from cultural centers and renovation projects to expansive parks. Rarely does this type of planning involve a futuristic complex of massive proportions within the city itself.

However, Valencia’s homegrown architectural prodigy, Santiago Calatrava, has managed to achieve something that can only be classified as architectural glory – The City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias).

Ecopolis Plaza by Ecosistema Urbano

Fri, Sep 30, 2011

Constructing children’s playgrounds in antiquated industrial parks may not seem like the best idea. But this is Madrid – and taking advantage of any and every available square meter has become an art form in the Spanish capital. Ecopolis Plaza is yet another example of creative urban reusability, but its focus on education makes it truly unique. A public nursery school is located at the heart of the plaza, which is designed to bring together community, sustainability, and education in one very brightly colored building.

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