Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona Unveils Extension Plans
April 19, 2021
Officials at the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) have revealed their plans for the institution’s expansion. Estimated to cost $6.6 million, the 32,000-square-foot addition will sit across the Plaza des Angels from the museum’s main Richard Meier–designed building and is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
The winning design, by Basel architecture firm Chirst and Gantenbein (C&G) in conjunction with Barcelona-based Harquitectes, was submitted in response to an open call last year, and was chosen by a panel of twenty-one jurors. The new building—an open, terraced, brick edifice—will be connected by a below-grade link to the 1995 Meier structure and to the fifteenth-century Convent dels Àngels, which houses a chapel currently used for performances, as well as two large halls.
Following the expansion and renovation, the chapel will serve as the main entrance for MACBA visitors, with both convent and chapel able to host exhibitions, allowing for a greater portion of the museum’s six-thousand-piece collection to go on display. The new structure—which was designed to answer MACBA jurors’ mandate of “a proposal that neatly resolves the dialogue on three different scales: with the neighborhood, the city and the museum”—will house shops, galleries and public spaces. According to Emanuel Christ, who founded C&G with Christoph Gantenbein, the building will gesture toward “urban repair.”
“The Meier building made sense twenty-five years ago and was important in creating something fresh to transform El Raval,” Xavier Ros Majó of Harquitectes told Architectural Record, citing the historic neighborhood the museum occupies. The goal of the two architectural firms was to offer a human-scale structure that would render the campus more permeable and welcoming, while establishing a dialogue between the existing historic and modern buildings.