The Museo del Prado will be exhibiting the winning proposal and those of the other 7 teams of finalists from 1 December.
Foster + Partners
wins the competition, on its second attempt. In the 1990s and after a controversial start, Norman Foster decided to withdraw from the enlargement of the Prado competition, in which there were no winners and only two third awards were sent. The expansion would be completed by Rafael Moneo, after the call for a second competition and a long and complicated implementation process where the project encountered the hard confrontation with the neighbors of the wealthy neighborhood of Alfonso XII.
The previous meetings and dinners with the employers made by all the finalists were of no use. It proved useless to be seen or noticed between the owners, to make interviews or any other movement of approach to the jury. Foster + Partners listed from the beginning as favourite for several reasons:
- The first, of course, was the fact that the office of the London architect, Norman Foster, has a brilliant and solvent career in this type of work -although perhaps this is the weakest justification, since all the finalists also had it likewise, or they would not have been able to participate, according to the rules of the competition-.
- The second reason is that the best positioned candidates, the ones a better recent experience and capable of solving this project, as the Seville-based practice Cruz y Ortiz with their award-winning reform, extension and rehabilitation of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
, or especially David Chipperfield
, - who in strict terms of rehabilitation was the most brilliant, with an exceptional trajectory in recent years in this area, highlighting among his last works the Neues Museum
-, did not have the best godfathers among the jury. From a formal and most of all, intellectual point of view; David Chipperfield was the one who could diminish the controversial enlargement previously made by Rafael Moneo.
- Last but not least, no one misses that Norman Foster and Luis Fernández-Galiano have shared a well-known friendship for many years, and although the weight of Fernández-Galiano might seem not so important among so many components forming a jury, no one escapes that in all the jurors, the characters with more charisma or ability to lead the others, are those who end up establishing their opinion above the rest.
Other issues, such as his connection to Madrid through his wife, the Spanish Elena Ochoa, must surely have also helped to opt for the winner's choice, but they are surely irrelevant in this "game of thrones".
In this final phase of the competition, the shortlisted practices were Foster + Partners, Eduardo Souto de Moura, Rem Koolhaas, Cruz y Ortiz, Nieto Sobejano, David Chipperfield, Gluckman and Garcés De Seta Bonet
, who arrived as the final nominees among the 47 initial participants of the competition. A coveted work, because despite having an initial budget of 30 million euros (which is quite adequate for this type of projects), its allocation means great prestige to the winner, because El Prado is a museum of worldwide prestige, thanks to its exceptional collection in the works of painting masters like El Bosco, Velázquez or Goya.
The addition of this building to the Museo del Prado’s Campus, which was envisaged in the parliamentary agreements on the Museum of 1995, is the principal goal of the celebrations to mark the Museum’s imminent 200th anniversary, which takes place in 2019. It will allow for an increase in display space of between 4,300 and 5,800 square metres.
The competition has a first prize of 48,400 Euros together with the commission for the project. In addition, each of the other finalists will be awarded 36,300 Euros. The budget for the fees for the creation of the final project and the site management is 1,756,315 Euros, including VAT.
The decision was taken at a meeting on November 22. The results of the competition were decided by a jury, which was formed by the following members:
The President of the Royal Board of Trustees of the Museo del Prado
The associate director of Administration of the Museo del Prado
The vice-president of the Royal Board of Trustees of the Museo del Prado
The director of the Museo del Prado
The director-general of Fine Arts and Cultural Property and of Archives and Libraries
The deputy director of Conservation and Research at the Museo del Prado
The general co-ordinator of Programmes and Operations at the Museo del Prado
The financial controller of the Museo del Prado
The lawyer of the State Judicial Service
The president of the Higher Council of Architectural Colleges of Spain
D. Luis Fernández-Galiano
Dña. María Dolores Jiménez-Blanco
D. Rafael Moneo Vallés
D. Fernando de Terán Troyano
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”.
Press Release by Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners and Rubio Arquitectura have won the international competition to revitalise and refurbish the historic Hall of Realms (Salón de Reinos) as a new addition to the Museo del Prado campus in Madrid.
The vision is to create a new public focus for the city by bringing together the various buildings that comprise the Prado with public spaces and underground links.
The Hall of Realms is a noble structure and one of the very few that have survived from the former Palacio del Buen Retiro of the seventeenth century. It has been the subject of changes and expansion, gathering many layers of history over the centuries.
The interventions will bring fresh life to the magnificent interiors from the past as well as adding new state-of-the-art galleries and public spaces. The proposal goes back four centuries to re-discover the original three storey southern façade. This becomes the backdrop for a spectacular new space within the building. The existing outer walls have been delicately opened up to bring light and views in from the new civic plaza.
The transformed Hall of Realms will be permeable, offering a new public route through the building with terrace cafes on the north side.
Working within the outline of the original building envelope a new roof will harvest energy from integrated solar cells, give natural light to the galleries below and cantilever as a shade to protect the southern façade. It also heralds the rebirth of this historic monument.
Lord Foster said:
“On behalf of the team that I led at Foster + Partners in collaboration with Rubio Arquitectura, I would like to say how honoured we are to contribute to this next phase of the expansion of the Prado – one of the truly great museums of the world. 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. 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.”