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Chamartín campus at ISCIII headquarters: Research between historical gardens

​One of the gardens in the ISCIII Chamartín Campus.

Chamartín Campus of the Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCIII) is located next to the Cuatro Torres business park at the north of Madrid. One of its main characteristics are the green areas, which occupy 44% of its surface. Many of ISCIII centers and units are located in this environment: the National Center for Epidemiology (CNE), the National School of Health, the Institute for Rare Disease Research (IIER), the National Center for Tropical Medicine (CNMT), the Telemedicine and Digital Health Research Unit, the National School of Occupational Medicine, the Health Care Research Unit (Investen), the National Oncology Research Center (CNIO), the National Cardiological Research Center (CNIC)...

The origin of these historic gardens is almost centenary, as they arise from the start-up of a hospital for treatment and isolation of patients affected by infectious diseases, promoted by King Alfonso XIII and whose first activities began in 1918.

 View of other garden areas, next to the Direction building

Once built what was called Hospital del Rey, in an area of arid land of that time, a fenced enclosure was created in which gardens were created to provide shade, not as stays, for the welfare of patients. These gardens may have been the work of renowned landscape architect Javier de Winthuysen, but to date it has not been confirmed.

According to the trend of that time, a Latin-Arabic garden structure was designed, giving prominence to traditional species such as privet, oleander, laurel, rose bush, mulberry, acacia, maple and poplar. The layout of the gardens is marked by planting trees in squares, with some alignments that follow the interior streets of the current campus, and which are characterized by their modest construction and environmental value.

Over the years, the variety of plant species on ISCIII Chamartín campus has been expanding. According to the last census conducted by ISCIII, there are a total of 28 landscaped spaces, which host a total of 719 trees of 48 different species. The most frequent are the following six ones: Robinia pseudoacacia, Ailanthus altissima, Acer negundo, Sophora japonica, Pinus halepensis and Pinus pinea, which represent 52% of the woodland.

Botanical path

One of the most recent initiatives of the Coordination Committee of the Environmental Management Plan of the ISCIII has been the design of a botanical path on the Chamartín Campus. It would be a tour through the most representative species of the gardens, with the possibility of locating and identifying plant species with basic information panels that can be completed, via mobile, scanning QR codes.