Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Helga de Alvear

Emilio Tuñón Arquitectos
Cáceres, Spain

A museum that aims to become a cultural attraction for the historical centre of Cáceres, host of the Helga de Alvear Collection.

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Photos: © Amores Pictures | Alberto Amores & Pancho Matienzo

A strategy, not a shape.

The project seeks to listen to the place, and without renouncing our times tries to imagine a city capable of preserving the way it breathes. So the idea is to find common ground between the contemporary and that which enables the city to recognize itself;

a figure, or better a strategy, containing both sides. A strategy considered in terms of opportunities. A set of rules dictated by what already exists. A reinterpretation of the same ones that make the project, container and content, a gift for the city.

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A boundary that is a meeting point.

The site marks a boundary in the city – both a historical boundary, being on the edge of the medieval quarter, and a geographical one, forming the cracks of a thalweg. The project makes the site permeable, once again a land of transit and exchange, which is what areas outside town walls were. From Calle Pizarro, below the preexisting facade and through what is still a rear garden, a public route begins, just another link in the chain of squares and alleys that forms the old quarter of Cáceres,

and this is the natural way to solve the problem of level changes on the way to the new part of the city. In the same way that art, once the privilege of an elite, becomes accessible, the building in an urban trompe l’oeil tries to twist and dilute – if not eliminate – the only boundary that almost always remains: the one that separates what belongs to a few from what belongs to all, a public void or artery running through the private sphere without touching it.

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The presence of the possible: what remains and what changes.

The project is true to the essence of the preexisting, and the proposed complex is not too different from what’s there right now: a house with a garden. The bold strokes remain, the clear-cut massing is almost intact, a distorted reflection of the orthogonal stone geometry of the ‘Casa Grande,’

but the hermetic look dissolves in the exterior routes. A ‘house,’ in function as well, for the center’s administrative core, and a ‘new house,’ for relaxation and leisure, that will also have storage spaces and installations for building services.

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