They were born in the age of Philip II, brought into being to couteract the lack of space in Madrid now, more than four centuries after, the “corralas” became an attractive target for young people looking for a dwelling in the center, singular and not expensive. At first glance it is difficult to see them, however the City Council estimates their number at over 400, most of them found in districts of Lavapiés, Embajadores or La Latina.
In order to distingush them from the convencional houses one needs to enter the door and reach patio, a very typical element of this kind of constructions in Madrid, which continues to be a meeting place for the neighbours, just as the corridors link the dwellings from outside.
Philip II created the buildings of this type, inspired by the blocks of flats in the Roman times, in order to work against the lack of space in the capital after the Court moved until there in 1561, and due to the necessity to build rapidly and cheap.
What has been designed for the humble social class, with shared bathrooms and little flats (of about 20 square meters), after some reforms and renovations a “corrala” is currently an appealing place for living for young hard-workers seeking good location and price.
“Living in the very center is a luxury, even if the home is small” says Ana Lázaro who has recently rented a flat of about 50 m2 in a “corrala” in Lavapiés. (…) Another woman living in this kind of building complains about lack of soundproofing (…).
All in all, “corralas” carry on with serving as homes for people with limited economical resources. (…) In many cases they are elderlies who lived in a “disastrous state” buildings before and have been relocated.
Together with the redevelopment, the “corrales” gained individual bathrooms and more square meters. (…).
The truth is that the “corrales” achieved calling the public attention. Recently, the Tourist Office in Madrid has added to its “must-see” list some examples of the “corrales”, recommending a two-hour walk to discover them. Among them there is one at 79 Mesón de Paredes Street declared as Patrimony of Cultural Interest and another, close to the Rastro, converted into the La Corral Cultural Center.
Source: El Mundo