The expansion and remodeling of the Prado Museum is six years late, but it arrives. It will last until 2024 and will cost 36 million euros to the State divided into annual items. The Council of Ministers on Tuesday approved a special credit line for the rehabilitation and museum adaptation of the Kingdom Hall of the Prado. In this way the Ministry of Culture requests a legal shortcut with which it is not necessary to include them in the General Budget. The accounts are currently being negotiated between the coalition with some differences between PSOE and Unidas Podemos. Until now the lack of agreement had been a stumbling block, but the Prado does not expect more.
The three items in which the 36 million euros are divided will be organized as follows: 8,315,000 euros for 2022, 20,483,000 euros for 2023 and 7,202,000 euros for 2024. For its part, the Prado Museum has committed to bear small expenses such as the emptying of the building. In addition to the 36 million, the Council of Ministers states that a disbursement of 2.1 million euros has already been processed and that they plan to cure others worth 1.4 million until 2024.
The project, declared “of urgency and exceptional public interest” by Culture, will be carried out by the architectural firm of British architect Norman Foster and Spanish architect Carlos Rubio. Both were selected in 2016, during the stage of Mariano Rajoy, to undertake an expansion of the Hall of Kingdoms -former Army Museum that was attached to the Prado in 2015-. With this, the art gallery will add 5,700 square meters in the vicinity of the Retiro, of which 2,600 will serve to house exhibitions.
The previous expansion was the building of the Hieronymites by Rafael Moneo, completed in 2007, which added 15,715 square meters of floor space (50% more) and had another exhibition space and for the conservation and custody of works. At that time, the Prado already became the fifth largest museum in the world.
The extension and refurbishment of the Salón de Reinos was intended to be carried out before the bicentenary of the Prado Museum, in 2019. But the lack of budgets and the pandemic delayed it. The project is part of the ambitious strategy Campus del Prado, which includes the pedestrianization of several streets surrounding the main museum -from Paseo de la Castellana to the Retiro Park- and connect them with the other buildings of its property, such as the Salón de Reinos, Villanueva, the Jerónimos and the Casón del Buen Retiro.
This extension, in turn, was linked to the candidacy of the Prado-Recoletos Axis as a World Heritage Site, which was added to the UNESCO list on 25 July.
The proposal by Norman Foster and Carlos Rubio was presented under the slogan Hidden Trace and aims to “make the most of the museum use in the building and create a large access atrium on the south facade, giving this space a semi-open and permeable character to the outside”. It also proposes that the third floor of the Hall of Kingdoms should be taller and wider than the current one and that it should have a terrace facing the campus.