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The Ministry of culture and the Museo del Prado unveil the largest extension project in the Museum’s history Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Ministry of culture and the Museo del Prado unveil the largest extension project in the Museum’s history.

The Ministry of culture and the Museo del Prado unveil the largest extension project in the Museum’s history

At a special meeting of the Museum’s Board of Trustees the Minister of Culture, Carmen Calvo, today announced to the Board the conclusion of the project to extend the Museum into the area of the Jerónimos Cloister. This is the largest expansion in the Museum’s nearly 200-year history and the first to be built outside of the original building.

The project, designed and directed by the architect Rafael Moneo and financed by the Ministry of Culture, increases the size of the Prado by more than 50% (15,517 square metres in addition to the 28,600 in the main building). It provides the Museum with the facilities, gallery spaces and installations needed to meet its requirements in the 21st century.

The new Prado has 1,386 square metres of temporary exhibition space divided over four rooms: an entire cloister providing a unique space designed to be used as a sculpture gallery; a lecture hall with seating for 438 people; a large reception area and visitor attention area; larger and better equipped storage areas with a sizeable loading bay; specially-designed areas for restoration and technical study; a new giftshop/bookshop, and a new cafeteria-restaurant.

The new spaces will be open to the public during “open doors” days on Saturdays and Sundays from 28 April to 1 July.

The extension project: facts and figures

Completed in a period of five years and three months at a total cost of 152,367,775.87 Euros, the project was awarded to the UTE (Unión Temporal de Empresas), comprising ACS and Constructora San José, later joined by Dragados Obras y Proyectos, with a budget of 42.6 million Euros on 29 November 2001. The completed work was handed over to the Ministry of Culture on 13 March 2007.
The budget for the work was modified on various occasions. The first modification increased the amount by 19 million Euros in July 2003. In July 2005 the Council of Ministers agreed a one-off payment of 44.6 million Euros in order to ensure the completion of the project.

The amount covers a total surface area of 22,513 built square metres, in addition to 13,363 square metres of improvement to the surrounding streets.
The building works, located next to the church of the Jerónimos in Madrid, involved 1,600 directly employed personnel. An average of 140 people worked on the site every day with numbers rising at times to up to 320, led by a technical team of 18 people.

Excluding Sundays and public holidays, this phase of the new Prado project was completed in 190,400 working days, without a single accident on site due to the meticulous organisation and control of site safety.

Restoration and materials

The complexity of the project meant that the arcades of the Jerónimos Cloister had to be dismantled, with the numbered stones taken to the Instituto de Patrimonio Histórico Español for restoration then subsequently re-installed. A second layer of textured, coloured concrete has been constructed around the Cloister.

Madrid granite, brick and patinated bronze cover the exterior façades. The interior is also faced with granite and uses oak, cedar and natural bronze. Glass, which transmits natural light and is a characteristic feature of Moneo’s architecture, is the other important element in the project, as are the monumental bronze doors commissioned by Moneo from the sculptor Cristina Iglesias.

Located opposite Cristina Iglesias’s “foliate carpet” is a parterre of almost 9,000 Tuscan dwarf box plants.

The Ministry of Culture has been congratulated by Greenpeace for the use of 90% ecological wood in the project.