The Museo del Prado in Madrid has big plans for its 200th anniversary celebration in 2019. Among those plans is an expansion of the museum campus and the restoration of the historic Salón de Reinos, all of which Foster + Partners and Spanish practice Rubio Arquitectura will be in charge of designing. The team won over seven notable contenders in an international competition that included OMA, Nieto Sobejano, Souto Moura, and Gluckman Tang.
Following the museum's last major extension by architect Rafael Moneo in 1998, this expansion focuses on refurbishing the Salón de Reinos (or Hall of Realms), 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.
Read on for an excerpt from Foster + Partners' and Rubio Arquitectura's winning proposal, “Hidden Design”:
“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...”
“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.”
Project preparation will start in 2017 and is expected to take about 16 months, according to the Museo del Prado. Construction will begin in 2018.
Images and quoted text courtesy of Foster + Partners.
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