Vibrant public space and solar energy come together in Foster + Partners and Rubio Arquitectura’s winning bid in Museo del Prado's (Prado Museum) international architecture competition for the refurbishment of a historic building into a museum extension. The project will see the revitalization of the historic Hall of Realms (Salón de Reinos) as a new addition to Madrid’s Museo del Prado campus and the unification of various buildings through public spaces and underground links. While the Hall of Realms’ original building facade will be preserved, the architects will also add a new roof topped with solar panels.
Foster + Partners and Rubio Arquitectura’s design beat out a shortlist of eight other proposals by practices including OMA and David Chipperfield Architects. The renovation of the Hall of Realms will create additional display space for permanent and temporary exhibitions at the Prado Museum. As one of the few surviving structures from the former 17th century Buen Retiro Palace, the Hall of Realms holds special historic significance in the city.
The Hall of Realms’s magnificent and intricate interiors will be restored, while the facade will be delicately opened to let in natural light and views. These openings will transform the historic building into a more permeable, public-facing structure with connections to the new civic plaza and terrace cafes. In addition to solar panels, the new roof will be cantilevered to protect the southern facade from intense sunlight.
“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,” said Lord Foster. “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.” The renovation project will be completed in time for the museum’s 200th anniversary celebrations in 2019.
Images via Foster + Partners