The Prado Launches Competition to Redesign Its Hall of Realms

The project will add 19,000 square feet of exhibition space for Spanish history.

Madrid’s Museo del Prado is launching an international architectural competition to restore and remodel its recently acquired Hall of Realms, or Salón de Reinos. The museum hopes to complete the project in time for its 200th anniversary in 2019.

The hall was once part of the Royal Buen Retiro Palace (largely destroyed during the Spanish Civil War) and most recently served as the home of the Museum Del Ejercito, or Army Museum, which moved to the Alcázar de Toledo in 2010. It became part of the Prado in October 2015, no less that 20 years after Spanish parliament first proposed the transfer.

After an open call for entries, the Prado will select eight finalists who will be called upon to submit a proposal of how to redesign the interior so it can better serve as gallery space, which will be used to mount exhibitions from its collection relating to Spanish history and artistic patrimony.

The Salón de Reinos, or Hall of Realms, is being redesigned by the Prado. <br>Photo: Xauxa Håkan Svensson, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Salón de Reinos, or Hall of Realms, is being redesigned by the Prado.
Photo: Xauxa Håkan Svensson, via Wikimedia Commons.

Both the ambitions and the budget for the addition seem modest. The facility is expected to add between about 14,100 and 19,000 square feet of exhibition space to the institution’s campus.

The winning proposal, selected by a jury, will take home a €48,400 (about $54,500) prize. In addition, each of the seven finalists receives €36,300 (about $40,900). The Prado has budgeted €1,756,315 (about $1.9 million) for the project’s construction.

The Hall of Realms is an appropriate addition to the Prado: built between 1630 and 1635, the palace was originally home the largest works in the Spanish royal collection—paintings that are now part of the Prado collection. The planned work will return the space to its original appearance and purpose.

The Prado’s relationship with the royal collection has been strained in recent years. After a two year battle, the Prado successfully fended off the newly formed Museo de las Colecciones Reales’s efforts to reclaim masterpieces by Hieronymus Bosch and other Old Masters. The paintings were lent by the royal collection to the Prado for safekeeping during the Spanish Civil War, and will now stay at the Madrid Museum.

The announcement for the architecture competition appeared in the Boletín Oficial del Estado.

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