By Alexandra Pacurar
Madrid—London-based Foster + Partners and Madrid-based Rubio Arquitectura won the international competition for the revitalization and refurbishment of the 17th century Hall of Realms (Salón de Reinos). The historic building will be part of the Museo del Prado campus in the Spanish capital. The winning submission is centered on the proposal to reveal the original three-story southern façade and transforming it in the primary exhibit of the new museum.
The team of architects from Foster + Partners and Rubio Arquitectura was led by Pritzker Prize winner Norman Foster, CEO & founder of British architecture and integrated design practice. “The Hall of Realms, built by Crescenzi and Carbonel in the 1630s, 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,” Foster said in a prepared statement. Eight architecture companies were shortlisted in the final stage of the competition out of the initial 47.
Through the new project the original façade openings will be reinstated so that sunlight reaches the interior spaces of the Hall of Realms. The new roof will have integrated solar cells for storing energy and natural light will fill the galleries below. The gallery spaces will be situated on the superior floors, while the ground floor will consist of exhibition and recreational areas.
Built four centuries ago and part of the former Palacio del Buen Retiro, the Hall of Realms has seen several expansions and changes throughout the decades.
Image courtesy of Foster + Partners