Prado Museum Extention
The new site for the extension of the Prado Museum included the Jéronimos Cloister, its surrounding perimeter, and the area between the back of the Museum and the Ruiz de Alarcón Street.
To make room for the extention Moneo excavated the area between the Prado and the Cloister placing the new entrance hall, and the temporary exhibition galleries, below the restored Cloister.
The extension is a new chapter in the Prado's long life. The roof of the new entrance hall is hidden beneath an box-hedged garden.
The only decorative element on the otherwise simple, plain
facade of brick, glass and stone, with its two story portico of
fluted pillars, is a set of massive bronze doors by the artist
The special attention given to the precision of the brick walls
that emphasize the edges can be seen in the corner next to the
church where the volume has undergone a careful process of erosion
that reveals the concrete structure and the arches of the
The extension maintains the longitudinal nature of the old
building and establishes a transverse axis from the reopened
Velázquez gate to the Cloister.
The Velázquez entrance connects to the new apse shaped entrance hall that serves as an intersection where the existing Prado Museum and the recently built extension overlap.
This hall, with its Pompeian red stucco walls, embellished with the Muses excavated from the Villa Adriana, is the heart of the museum.
Glazed passages embrace the open court surrounding the apse and lead to the trapezoidal space of the main foyer in which one of the longer sides coincides with the back of the Museum and the other with the alignment of the Ruiz de Alarcón Street.
The main foyer, a generous open space cut into the slope, contains ticket sales, checkrooms, restrooms, information, as well as the cafeteria/restaurant, bookshop and museum store.
The geometry and the perimeter of the Cloister determined the
guidelines for the plan of the new building and the dimensions of
the two below ground galleries. A light well/lantern cut through
the Cloister's floor brings light down to the galleries
The Cloister can be understood as a lantern that illuminates the
new building, as a work of art that has been incorporated in the
Museum's collections and as an architectural element that gives
meaning to all that is built around it. The Cloisters receives
daylight through a new skylight.
Facts about Prado Museum Extention
Building: 22, 040 m2
Exterior: 13, 363 m2
Jacobo García Germán
Jesús Jiménez Cañas
NB 35 Ingenieros
Rafael Úrculo Aramburu
Úrculo Ingenieros Consultores
Consulting Engineer Mechanical:
Andrew J. Sebor, Altieri, Sebor, Wieber LLC
UTE Prado (Dragados y San José)
Photographed by Thomas Mayer
Ministry of Culture
Last updated: December 19, 2013
Siza, Souto de Moura, Moneo, Calatrava and Barraga,
New Haven, Connecticut,
Los Angeles, USA