Changes in Madrid
As of spring 2009, the majority of the Puerta del Sol in the center of Madrid is open space dedicated to pedestrians. Construction took place over many years in the center in order to create a stop for the Cercanías train line in Sol. Now completed, Sol is a spacious area with a modern train station that students who attend the UAM can use to catch the train, as well as the two large fountains that were formerly in the center, as well. Finally, the famous statue of el Oso y el Madroño has been restored to its original location in the plaza near the Tío Pepe sign.
Plaza de Santa Bárbara
Close to the International Institute off of la glorieta de Alonso Martínez, the Plaza de Santa Bárbara has been converted into an open pedestrian space with grass, wooden benches, terrazas, a play area, and a bookshop located in the center of the plaza.
Plaza de España has recently been renovated (2010) and is now a pedestrian plaza with beautiful fountains, gardens, and grassy areas. Plaza de España is also the site of many open-air markets, fairs, and concert events in Madrid. The buildings around Plaza España are still in the process of having their façades renovated.
Plaza Castilla is home to La Puerta de Europa, formed by two skyscrapers inclined towards each other at a 15º angle on either side of the Castellana. The towers were inaugurated in 1996 by the architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee and are the first inclined skyscrapers to be built in the world. Plaza Castilla is also the site of a tall obelisque built by Caja Madrid and a monument to José Calvo Sotelo. Recently, a new aboveground and underground bus terminal was completed that also houses an underground mall.
The Cuatro Torres Business Area is situated to the north of Plaza Castilla on the Paseo de la Castellana. The business park is composed of four skyscrapers that are the tallest buildings both in Madrid and in Spain. The buildings include offices, a hotel, indoor and outdoor gardens and fountains, and apartments.