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Architects Norman Foster and Carlos Rubio winners of the projects competition to remodel the Hall of Realms Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Museo del Prado will be exhibiting the winning proposal and those of the other 7 teams of finalists from 1 December.

Architects Norman Foster and Carlos Rubio winners of the projects competition to remodel the Hall of Realms

Perspectival cross-section of the proposal showing the permeability of the north-south axis

Iñígo Méndez de Vigo, Minister of Education, Culture and Sport, this morning led the plenary meeting of the Royal Board of Trustees of the Museo del Prado in which the jury announced the winner of the international competition for the architectural restoration and museological remodelling of the Salón de Reinos [Hall of Realms] of the former Buen Retiro palace. The winning proposal is the one presented by the team of Foster + Partners L.T.D. and Rubio Arquitectura S.L.P., as decided at the jury’s meeting on 22 November.

The winning proposal, entitled HIDDEN DESIGN, makes maximum use of the building’s museological aspect and creates a large entrance atrium on the south façade, making this space semi-open and permeable to the exterior but sufficiently controlled for it to function to protect the original façade of the Hall of Realms, the windows and balconies of which will be reinstated. Emerging over the top of this façade will be a large exhibition space on the third floor, which is higher and wider than the present one, forming the roof of the atrium and a terrazza facing the Museum’s “campus”.

View of the new south entrance

The winning design fully responds to the spatial requirements specified by the Museum for this project, without the need to excavate new basement levels. It emphasises the historical spaces that form the core of the building, particularly the Hall of Realms. Similarly, it strengthens and consolidates the identity of the Museo del Prado campus, proposing a pedestrian section of the Retiro Park – Paseo del Prado axis along calle Felipe IV which will revitalise its connection with the city.

In its decision statement the jury singled out the principal merits of this project as the high quality of the architectural proposal, which respects and emphasises the pre-existing structure, adapting it to present-day requirements; the intelligent way in which this project meets museological requirements; the skilled integration of the building into its surroundings and into the overall context of the Museo del Prado campus; and the project’s efficient cost study.

The aim of the competition of which the winner has now been announced and which was originally published in the Boletín Oficial del Estado on 1 March 2016, was to select the architectural team to devise the project to restore and refit the Hall of Realms, part of the lost Buen Retiro palace and the former home of the Museo del Ejército [Army Museum]. This building was formerly passed to the Museo del Prado in October 2015. 

The competition, entered by 47 teams of architects, has consisted of two parts. The first, open part ended in June with the selection of eight teams: 

  • CRUZ Y ORTIZ ARQUITECTOS, S.L.P.
  • NIETO SOBEJANO ARQUITECTOS, S.L.P.
  • UTE: B720 ARQUITECTURA, S.L. - DAVID CHIPPERFIELD ARCHITECTS
  • OFFICE FOR METROPOLITAN ARCHITECTURE (O.M.A.) STEDEBOUW B.V.
  • UTE: SOUTO MOURA ARQUITECTOS, S.A. - JUAN MIGUEL HERNÁNDEZ LEÓN - CARLOS DE RIAÑO LOZANO
  • UTE: FOSTER + PARTNERS L.T.D. - RUBIO ARQUITECTURA S.L.P.
  • UTE: GARCES DE SETA BONET ARQUITECTES, S.L.P. - PEDRO FEDUCHI CANOSA
  • UTE: GLUCKMAN TANG ARCHITECTS L.L.P. - ESTUDIO ÁLVAREZ SALA, S.L.P. – ARQUITECTURA ENGUITA Y LASSO DE LA VEGA, S.L.P.

These teams devised their proposals for the second phase, presenting them on 31 October. In its decision statement, jury singled out the quality of all the projects presented, which will be displayed in the Cloister of the Museum’s Jerónimos Building from 1 December.

Preparation of the project will commence in 2017 and is expected to take about 16 months. Building work will begin in 2018.  

Summary of the proposal for the Hall of Realms

UTE: Foster + Partners L.T.D. – Rubio Arquitectura S.L.P.

This is a temporary alliance of the architectural studios Foster + Partners and Rubio Arquitectura.

Foster + Partners was founded in 1967 by Norman Foster (born Manchester, UK, 1935). With its headquarters in London, it has offices in 14 cities around the world including Hong Kong, New York, São Paulo, Singapore and Madrid.

Among Foster + Partners’ most important projects for museums are those undertaken for the Carré d’Art (Nîmes, France, 1993), the Great Court and Sainsbury Galleries in the British Museum (London, UK, 2000), the Robert and Alene Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian Institution (Washington DC, USA, 2007), the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, USA, 2010), the Lenbachhaus (Munich, Germany, 2013) and the Imperial War Museum (London, UK, 2014). 

Among numerous awards and honours, Norman Foster received the Pritzker Prize in 1999, the Mies van der Rohe Award for Contemporary Architecture in 1990 and the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects in 1994. The Prince of Asturias Prize for the Arts in 2009 recognised his entire career as an architect.   

Rubio Arquitectura was founded in 2014 by the architect Carlos Rubio Carvajal (born Barcelona, 1950) and has its headquarters in Madrid. The studio is currently working on various projects in Spain and abroad, including Russia and Saudi Arabia. Awards include the COAM Architecture Prize in 1989.  

Inside view of the new south façade atrium

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