1.5% Cultural Programme

• The Minister expressed her satisfaction with the Architecture Quality Law, which brings this discipline closer to society and puts urban planning in line with its new needs.

• This new space was made possible thanks to an investment of more than 5 million euros made by the Ministry as part of the 1.5% cultural programme.

• The refurbishment sought to make the building more sustainable and eco-efficient thanks to a series of actions, such as replacing the windows and woodwork, and installing solar panels on the building's flat roof.

photo Jose Manuel Ballester

The Minister of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez, today assured that the exhibit hall of the Arquería de Nuevos Ministerios, after its remodelling, will be a mandatory stopping point for visitors and citizens of Madrid along the cultural route on the Paseo de la Castellana, which contains the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza, and Reina Sofía museums and the National Library.

During the opening of the remodelled La Arquería Hall in Nuevos Ministerios, the Minister paid tribute to Secundino Zuazo, the urban planner who, almost 100 years ago, proposed an underground rail link between Atocha and Chamartín. He also prolonged the Paseo de la Castellana, and it is to him that we owe this impressive arcade and the original Nuevos Ministerios project.

The minister is also convinced that if Zuazo could see this upgrade, he would feel satisfied, as he would be with the Architecture Quality Law, which brings this discipline closer to society and puts urban planning in

It has been almost 40 years since this gallery was first used as an exhibit hall. Works by the best architects in the world and the leading names in Spanish architecture have been displayed here as a way to showcase new trends. A showcase that, after an investment of more than five million euros, funded by the 1.5% Cultural programme, has been enlarged and upgraded, Raquel Sánchez explained.

The Minister has advocated for having collections such as that of the Enaire Foundation available to citizens, so they can feel a sense of ownership with the works of Genovés, Barceló, Tapies, Canogar, Chillida, Lucio Muñoz, Martín Chirino and others. “What belongs to us all must be able to be enjoyed by us all”, she noted.

She also expressed her desire to have this facility provide a glimpse into the future, to host what the present has to offer and to regain the most significant aspects of our past, sometimes beautiful, and sometimes painful and terrible.

Raquel Sánchez said that she baptised the different spaces of this Art Centre with the names of great figures of Spanish architecture, such as Alejandro de la Sota, Félix Candela, Matilde Ucelay, José Luis Sert and, of course, Secundino Zuazo, whose room is located under the concrete dome of the original structure.

The Secretary of State, Isabel Pardo de Vera, in her remarks also noted the balance, sensitivity and successful execution of this project, which improves and enhances the architectural image of Nuevos Ministerios and offers a new, more dynamic, open and more engaging aspect, in perfect consistency with the policy of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda (Mitma).

She also emphasised how important this public space is for this Ministry, since all the agencies of the Mitma coordinated and worked together on the future sustainability of the Arquería.

The Director General of the Urban Agenda and Architecture, Iñaki Carnicero, who also took part in the opening of La Arquería, celebrated the reopening of a space that is so prominent and meaningful for culture in the heart of Madrid, and which will allow society to engage more closely with architecture, while also showing its great potential
architecture to improve the lives of citizens, complying with one of the mandates of the Architecture Quality Law.

A concept beyond the 21st century

The Nuevos Ministerios building, located on the grounds of the former Madrid horse track, was designed by architect Secundino Zuazo Ugalde, along with engineer Eduardo Torroja Miret, around 1930 to house the Ministries of Governance, Public Works and Agriculture. La Arquería arose out of this building with the intention of extending the northern part of the Paseo de la Castellana.

The La Arquería Hall, part of the Ministry of Housing, opened in October 1983 with an exhibit on Nordic Classicism, 1910-1930. Since then, it has provided an excellent showcase for the most relevant architecture of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The project entailed opening a multipurpose, 335 m2 room under the arches.

Commitment to restore Heritage

This new space of La Arquería was made possible by an investment of over 5 million euros from the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda pursuant to the Historical Heritage Law, which lays out the obligation to allocate 1.5% of the amount set forth in public works contracts to preserve and enrich Spanish Historical Heritage or to promote artistic creativity.

The opening of this new cultural facility will be made possible thanks to the involvement of all the agencies that are part of the Ministry and that are working together in a show of institutional solidarity to make this new centre a reality.

In this regard, the La Arquería hall will be managed for the next three years by the Enaire Foundation.

The project

Frade Arquitectos is the studio that won the public tender that was announced to undertake the remodelling, and it was responsible for revitalising this unique 2,800 m2 space. In 1995, the Frade studio received the National Architecture Award for converting the Palace of Carlos V in the Alhambra into a museum, and it was also responsible for completely remodelling the National Archaeological Museum of Spain.

The refurbishment of the Arquería, carried out between 2019 and 2023 by architect Juan Pablo Rodriguez Frade, sought to preserve the aesthetics of the hall while enhancing its versatility and usefulness.

From the beginning, the project was tasked with respecting the original building and its appearance, since the property enjoys specific protection under an ordinance of the Madrid Land-Use Plan of April 1997. It now incorporates the features needed to comply with the regulations that apply to a modern building intended for public use.

photos Jose Manuel Ballester

Work also went into making the building more sustainable and eco-efficient thanks to a series of actions, such as replacing the windows and woodwork in order to provide adequate insulation, and installing solar panels on the building’s flat roof. The lighting for the existing works on display has been upgraded to an LED system, and the devices used are energy efficient.

Finally, the building has been outfitted with a security and communication system, which is essential for the connectivity of some of the more modern exhibition projects and works.

The new lobby is the most representative image of the space created during this project. There is a set of vertical travel systems, a staircase, lift and ramp, that span the opening made in the floor and which the visitor will find on arrival. This simplifies and rearranges the traffic flow, making the facility more flexible and providing the option of letting the three storeys work as one or independently.

Of particular interest in this lobby is the cut in the dome, which exposes the iron bars of the original structure and the thickness of the vault.

Another new feature of the building and its current look is the reopened north access to La Arqueria, which incorporates the elements needed to let the lecture rooms work in tandem with the exhibit halls or independently.

The modern HVAC system is designed to control the temperature and humidity conditions inside the building. It features a computer system that detects and monitors any deviations from the setpoints in order to adjust the facility and ensure the comfort of visitors and the conservation of the works on display.

Finally, the sensation one gets when visiting La Arqueria is one of orderly spaces, clean details and overall serenity. The work done is transparent to users, who see the centre as it was before.
The outside appearance of La Arquería was maintained in its entirety.

  • Enaire- @mitmagob photos Jose Manuel Ballester

Source: Auto Draft