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Madrid, Spain


  • In the 1996 competition for the enlargement of the Prado Museum, it was up to the architect to define the borders of the construction site. Out of 776 projects, ten went on to the second phase of the competition. The jury did not want to commit to any of them, although they did give a secondary award to one entry (Matos, Castillo) and an honorable mention to another (Dürig). The jury’s indecisiveness may have been due to vagueness with regard to availability of space; the idea that it was indeed necessary to define the project’s direction and exact location was probably looming in the jury members’ minds. Willing to carry on with the extension, management reached an agreement with the church of San Jerónimo el Real on the use of its cloister, which was deemed the best place for the future of the museum. Once the Culture Ministry had the plot at its disposal, it asked the ten architects selected in the competition’s first phase to participate in another one with more precise guidelines. The winner of this second contest was Rafael Moneo’s Buen Retiro project, unanimously chosen by the jury. Having summarized the selection process, now is not the time to describe the project for the new Prado, but to state that Villanueva’s building is finally freed of many obligations. The new transversal axis starting at the Velázquez entrance has appropriated the Jerónimos cloister and generated a whole series of construction episodes that create the conditions for those functions of a museum not directly related to the exhibition of works of art. Again, this is not just a building, but an intervention in the city.


    Paseo del Prado, Madrid. Spain


    Ministry of Culture




    Rafael Moneo


    Project Team:
    Belén Hermida (Architect)
    Christoph Schmid (Architect)
    Carmen Díez (Architect)
    Mariano Molina (Architect)
    Jacobo García Germán (Architect)
    Borja Peña (Architect)

    Eduardo Arilla (Architect)
    José Mª Hurtado de Mendoza (Architect)
    Oliver Bieniussa (Architect)
    Dirk Schluppkotten(Architect)
    Juan Manuel Nicás (Architect)
    Filippo Serra (Architect)

    Pedro Elcuaz (Architect)
    Miguel Angel Santamaría (Quantity surveyor)
    Filippo Serra (Architect)
    Francisco Blasco Esparza (Architect)
    David Campo (Architect)
    Belén Hermida (Architect)
    Isabel López Taberna (Architect)
    Scott Snyder (Architect)
    Fernando Iznaola (Architect)

    Santiago Hernán ( Quantity Surveyor)
    Juan Carlos Corona (Quantity Surveyor


    Structural Engineer: Jesús Jiménez Cañas, NB 35 Ingenieros
    Mechanical Engineer: Rafael Úrculo Aramburu, Úrculo Ingenieros
    Models: Juan de Dios Hernández y Jesús Rey


    UTE Prado (Dragados y San José)


    106, 314, 349 €


    22, 040 m2

  • DATE:

    1st phase international competition: December 1995
    Finalist 2nd phase competition: August 1996
    First prize invited competition: October 1998
    Construction start: November 2001
    Inauguration: October 2007


    © Michael Moran/OTTO