Client: The City of Madrid
Location: Madrid, Spain
Site: 5 ha
Program: Extension of the Prado Museum: 25,000 m2 museum facilities
Battle McCarthy Engineers, Davis Langdon & Everest, Prado Museum
Immersed within a rich dense foliage, the site, once settled only by the four present Prado buildings, embodies the spatial and temporal dignity of the ‘campus in the city’. With 2,000,000 people a year (and growing), 8,000 per day and 17 per minute, the Prado Museum has reached the density levels of a small international airport.
The brief required that the built component be simply an attached volume at the back of the main building, the Villanueva. Our project instead offers an alternative solution in the form of an infrastructural strategy that responds to this growth, acting as a multi-spined organ, feeding and linking the museum into a pastoral complex, where spaces of sectional variation curl, split and open their membrane to maximise connections, light and views. Furthermore, our ambition is to orchestrate the circulation through the foyer, temporary exhibition areas and around the auditoria as one continuity.
Eventually every space flows back on itself so as to create a curatorial loop. This gives an impression of interior space that is endless and infinite. With multiple entrances and a careful organisation of ticketed and non-ticketed areas, the building can be entered at many points, either specifically to visit the museum or incidentally while crossing the site. In this way, the building becomes very much a covered street; an extension of the public realm. The design seeks inspiration from, and continuity with the existing context. But there is also contrast.
The Villanueva is surrounded by a new contemporary garden design to complement Madrid’s network of public spaces. It is a new urban landscape that introduces visitors to the museum and acts as a transition between the city and the exhibits within.