A New MACBA for Barcelona

John Hill
20. d’abril 2021
Visualization: Filippo Bolognese

The team of Basel's Christ & Gantenbein and Barcelona's Harquitectes has won the international competition to extend the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), as decided by a 21-member jury.

Since 1995 MACBA has occupied a building unmistakably designed by Richard Meier that prominently faces Plaça dels Àngels, a popular public space in El Raval. The institution's approximately 3,000-m2 (32,300-sf) extension will sit directly across the plaza, next to a fifteenth-century chapel and convent that were rehabilitated in the 1980s and will be renovated as part of the new project. The MACBA expansion will be linked below the plaza to the Meier building but will be more in line architecturally with the area's older brick buildings than Meier's white-metal modernism.

Visualization: Filippo Bolognese

According to the April 14th announcement from the General Council of the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, MACBA’s highest governing body, the winning scheme "responds to the challenges and objectives of MACBA's '2022 Strategy'" that include: "the reorganization and improvement of the museum's spaces and services, which will allow a more accessible public display of the collection; the promotion of excellence in areas of research and dissemination of knowledge; and, ultimately, the achievement of a provocative museum in content, capable of generating narratives and debates that are open to diverse audiences." 

Visualization: Filippo Bolognese

The design by Christ & Gantenbein and Harquitectes creates "a new syntax for the site" in order to deal with the fifteenth-century Convent dels Àngels and the restoration and rehabilitation work carried out by Clotet, Paricio & Associats in the 1980s. In response to the 1980 study Del Liceo al Seminario (From the Liceu to the Seminary) by Clotet and Tusquets, which resulted in a problematic connection between Plaça dels Àngels and Plaça de les Caramelles, the expansion will turn the convent's chapel into MACBA's main entrance, creating a grand civic space oriented to the nearby La Rambla. On the plaza side, the project will fill a large gap with a new structure that continues the rhythm and scale of the Clotet-Paricio intervention defined by brick buttresses; atop the unified facade will be an accessible roof terrace. 

Visualization: Filippo Bolognese

The team of HArquitectes and Christ & Gantenbein bested the four other finalists that were named in December 2020: Estudio Barozzi Veiga; Camps Felip Arquitecturia and Tuñón Arquitectos; David Chipperfield Architects and b720 Arquitectura; and Caruso St John Architects and Bosch - Capdeferro. The total cost of the project is approximately 5-1/2 million Euros; construction work is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

Visualization: Filippo Bolognese

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