The project will cost 10 million euros (12.9 million American dollars), which will be funded by the Emilio Ambasz Foundation with the support of the Madrid City Council, which will grant the Foundation ownership of the municipal building for a period of 75 years. The Organization will manage the Museum operations during that time. It has been suggested that the Argentine artist Emilio Ambasz, a pioneer of green architecture, will be the author of the design plan.
The new museum will be located at 30 Paseo del Prado, at the corner of Prado-Recoletos, a prime real estate location known as the “Art Mile.”
In a press conference after the signing of the agreement, the architect showed a scale model of the building, which will require a complete renovation due to the state of abandonment and poor storage conditions it currently presents.
A substantial modernization will follow to put in place the necessary settings for exhibitions and cultural activities. Ambasz said the remodeling alone would require an estimated 4.5 million euros (5.8 million dollars). The facade will be replaced with a “vertical garden” that will provide waterproofing and insulation, and the roof will be covered in vegetation to absorb and recycle rainwater. The interior will be bright and spacious, with four floors (8,600 square feet) for exhibitions, and a fifth floor that will house a restaurant.
Ambasz pointed out that in order to be classified as “green”, a building should have more than a structure that avoids rainwater waste; it must also be able to save energy. The architect went on to say he would work with a Spanish architect—preferably young— to oversee the works, although he had not chosen the candidate when the agreement was signed.
The Museum will host a permanent collection of art, architecture and revolutionary and sustainable urbanism, as well as temporary exhibitions and a virtual library. It will also serve as a convention center devoted to art that encourages the fusion between architecture and nature.
This is not the first museum “donated” by” Emilio Ambasz. The design of Buenos Aires’s Museum of Modern Art was also a gift from the architect, but construction took 14 years. Ambasz hopes the Museum of Art, Architecture, Design and Urbanism in Madrid will be completed in two or three years at the most. ■