Francisco Mangado constructs crystalline art museum in Spain

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Francisco Mangado expands a Spanish museum by adding a new building behind a historic facade

Spanish architect Francisco Mangado has created contemporary galleries for a fine arts museum in northern Spain by inserting a crystalline glass building behind the leftover facade of a demolished block.

Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado

Navarra-based architect Francisco Mangado won a competition to redevelop the home of Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias.

His proposal was to insert a glazed five-storey structure behind the decorative stone facade of a demolished building on Calle de la Rúa, slotted between the museum's existing buildings – the Baroque Velarde Palace and a 17th-century house known as Casa Oviedo-Portal.

Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado

"More than just a facade, this is an element of great formal, visual, and functional intensity," explained Mangado, whose past projects include a faceted auditorium building in Alicante.

"The project concentrates the two periods in this thick facade and allows an oblique view of the existing city, from inside, through these facades."

Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado

The glass skin that front the building's three overground storeys is visible through the window and door openings of the original facades. It also rises above the terracotta-tiled roofs of neighbouring properties in a few locations.

"The new facade with an elaborate glass finish produces a play of crossed reflections inside; an interaction between two facades that creates a space of rich intensity," said Mangado.

Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado

Behind the facades, the museum sprawls out to frame a courtyard in the centre of the block. Glazed walkways traverse the courtyard, connecting to further galleries at the rear.

"Through luminous glazed catwalks, the courtyard becomes a place for encounters and an element connecting the various buildings of the museum complex," said the architect.

Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado

Inside, a series of double- and triple-height galleries are linked by a timber staircase, which ascends through an angular space with a skylight overhead.

Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado

The galleries overlook a central atrium through a series of openings with glass balustrades, while each of the upper-floor galleries is topped by an angular roof with a central skylight.

These skylights are angled away from the street-facing facade towards the centre of the building, creating a pointed roofline.

Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado

"Light is always important in architecture, but more so in a museum," said the architect.

"Ideally, the presence of natural light is exquisitely subtle," he added. "And the project has tried to work toward this ideal through the logic of the voids, whether the block courtyards or the central core, and through the logic of the skylights, which directly affect the higher floors."

Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado

Photography is by Pedro Pegenaute.


Project credits:

Client: Principado de Asturias - Consejería de Cultura y Turismo.
Architect: Francisco Mangado
Work direction: Francisco Mangado
Collaborators: Idoia Alonso, Luís Alves, Ricardo Ventura, Sergio Rio Tinto, Abraham Piñate, Hugo Pereira, André Guerreiro, Diogo Lacerda, Justo López García
Structural engineering: IDOM
Installations engineering: IDOM
Lighting: IDOM
Quantity surveyors: Luis Pahisssa, Fernando Pahissa, Alberto López Diez, Angel Garcia Garcia
Contractor: SEDES

Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado
Sire plan – click for larger image
Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado
Basement level two plan – click for larger image
Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado
Basement level one plan – click for larger image
Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado
First floor plan – click for larger image
Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado
Second floor plan – click for larger image
Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado
Section one – click for larger image
Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado
Section two – click for larger image
Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado
Section three – click for larger image
Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado
Section four – click for larger image
Fine Arts of Asturias by Francisco Mangado
Section five – click for larger image