Prado Museum Extension (Stage 1)



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    The proposal, which attempts minimal changes in both museum and surroundings, allows construction to be undertaken without closing the museum or altering its normal operations. Against the specifications of the competition brief; nothing is added to the back of the Villanueva building, so as not to repeat the errors of past additions. Maintaining and strengthening the void currently surrounding the Jeronimos cloister through its restoration and integration into the urban landscape was also considered important.

    The original ground level of Villanueva’s project is recovered, while respecting the stairs and the doors built by Muguruza in 1945, through which the connection to the other building is made. Recuperating this level permits construction beneath the large entry hall and group entrance, communicating from here with the rest of the areas.

    From this hall, located on the north-south axis of the Villanueva gallery, a sculpture gallery, whose length and top lighting resemble those of the central gallery, is placed on the perpendicular east-west axis. This new gallery ends in the Casón del Buen Retiro, joining the two buildings presently making up the Prado. Taking advantage of the difference in level between Ruiz de Alarcón and Felipe IV streets, as well as the ground level of the museum’s rear facade, a four-story L-shaped building is proposed to house the staff, cafeteria and temporary exhibition gallery.

    In the area defined by the museum’s rear facade and the new structure, a garden is planted which on plan continues the Botanical Garden and would allow the contemplation of Villanueva’s elevations, once the Arbós additions of 1914 are demolished. The project does not touch Villanueva’s construction, but forms an independent foreground structure: an underground building in the connection to the Casón, in the sculpture gallery, in the conference rooms, and in all spaces which may be resolved with top or artificial lighting, and exterior in the temporary exhibition spaces, the cafeteria, the entry hall, and the staff areas staff.

    The connection to the Museo del Ejército is through the sculpture gallery of the Casón, and the original ordering of paintings in the Hall of Kingdoms of the 17th century is recreated. The north-facing facade of the Museo del Ejdrcito is also recuperated, covering over the barrier excavated by Jareño.


    Key Facts

    Prado Museum Extension (Stage 1) . 1998

    Client: Ministry of Culture
    Architects: Rafael Olalquiaga Soriano, Dionisio Hernández Gil
    Location: Madrid, España
    Purpose: Museum
    Built area: 15.000,00 m2
    Budget: 16.000.000,00 €
    Structural Engineer: Javier Rui Wamba, Ingeniero de Camino. ESTEYCO
    Mechanical Engineer: JG Ingenieros
    Models: Juan de Dios HernándezJesús Rey
    Photography: Aurofoto (Federico López)
    Collaborators: Pedro Rodríguez Agudín, Luis Miguel Rincón, Pablo Olalquiaga

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