Foster + Partners and Spanish practice Rubio Arquitectura had the winning scheme to refurbish the historic Salón de Reinos, or Hall of Realms, at the Museo del Prado in Madrid. Following the national museum's last major extension by architect Rafael Moneo in 1998, this latest expansion phase focuses on refurbishing the Salón de Reinos, one of the surviving pieces of the former 17th-century Buen Retiro Palace. The expansion will also create additional gallery space for the Prado Museum's permanent and temporary exhibitions, and it aims to better connect the museum to its urban environment.
The winners were selected over seven notable contenders in an international competition that included OMA, Nieto Sobejano, Souto Moura, and Gluckman Tang. Project preparation will start in 2017 and is expected to take about 16 months, according to the Museo del Prado. Construction will start in 2018.
“The Hall of Realms, built by Crescenzi and Carbonel in the 1630’s, is one of the very few remains of the former palace and predates the Museum which was conceived in 1819,” Norman Foster stated. “Two centuries later the transformation and expansion of this historic hall will add significant new galleries and related public spaces to the Prado. It will also create, as a setting, a new urban focus for the city of Madrid.”
Read on for an excerpt of the winning proposal, titled “Hidden Design”.
“Our vision for the new Prado Campus brings the essence of the Palacio del Buen Retiro back to life, by creating a new public focus for the city and stitching the various buildings of the Museo del Prado together. The primary protagonist is the noble Hall of Realms, a monument which has gathered many layers of history throughout the centuries. These layers will be peeled back to reveal the original 17th century façade, which will become the primary exhibit of the new museum.
The recovery of the south façade of the Palace requires the removal of the floor slabs to reveal the full extent of the facades, creating a spectacular new indoor public space: the new Prado Campus. By means of a delicate procedure the original façade openings will be reinstated so that sunlight reaches the interior spaces of the Hall of Realms again, re-establishing its former bond with the surrounding landscape.”
“The area lost by the removal of the intermediate floors will be reinstated on the third floor, above the newly revealed façade. This new floor will house a broad and versatile exhibition hall with a double-height ceiling. The new roof will be fully tuneable for controlled natural and artificial light, with full environmental controls — perfectly adapted to the varied nature of the exhibits. The new roof will also set new standards for sustainability, harvesting energy from integrated solar cells, while creating shade on the southern façade.”
“By situating the gallery spaces above, the ground floor is released and becomes the heart of the new building: this public level will be filled with exhibition and recreational areas, with the surrounding urban milieu flowing through the atrium, reconnecting both north – where the main entrance is located – and south, where a gathering space receives the visitors from the Villanueva building and restores the relationship between the Hall of Realms and the Casón del Buen Retiro.”
The other shorlisted practices in the competition included:
- Cruz y Ortiz Arquitectos
- Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos
- B720 Arquitectos – David Chipperfield Architects
- Office for Metropolitan Architecture (O.M.A.) Stedebouw B.V.
- Souto Moura Arquitectos - Juan Miguel Hernández León - Carlos de Riaño Lozano
- Garces de Seta Bonet Arquitectes - Pedro Feduchi Canosa
- Gluckman Tang Architects - Estudio Álvarez Sala - Arquitectura Enguita y Lasso de la Vega
Images and quoted text courtesy of Foster + Partners.
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