Teruel City Museum

November – December 2006, Teruel, Spain

Expansion of Teruel City Museum
The current City Museum of Teruel plans to extend its exhibition space. It is currently located in the Community House, an impressive monument built in 1592 situated in the historic centre with a very tight pattern of streets. The extension will be hosted in a new building on the adjacent empty sites and in the Tosos Palace, a 17th Century house. The narrow and steep Ayora Street separates the current from the future exhibitions spaces.

One Single Museum
We see two potential problems that could make the functioning and perception of the complex as one single museum difficult. On the one hand, Ayora Street, which has to stay open to the public according to regulations and therefore cannot be incorporated into the museum, will be even more than at present a residual space that may cut the future complex in two; and on the other hand, the excess of fragmentation of the spaces and buildings may make the organization and accessibility of the new structure harder.
 All the design decisions will be taken with the aim of supporting and implementing the idea of ONE single museum.

-Ayora Street remains public but is visually incorporated into the museum. We will place the connection between the two parts in the void of the public street: two tunnels and a bridge will connect the floors at levels -1, ±0, and +3. The new building runs parallel to Ayora Street. Both the street and the gallery at that level will be shaped in the same profile, as if both are part of the same space. Conceptually, this side is not a façade so its closing will not be treated as such. This side is a section that will be protected by glass and will find its real and visual closure at the impressive masonry wall of the current museum building, whose small windows will allow views into the new exhibition rooms. The stone masonry wall will form a part of the exhibition. The narrow Ayora Street is turned visually into a 12m wide space, from where the exhibition is always visible. Its new stepped-profile will solve the big difference in elevation in the street.

-To strengthen the idea of having one single museum with a facade facing three streets (Bombardera, San Miguel-Plaza, Fray Anselmo Polanco y Comunidad) the facades of the new building will fill in the gaps in San Miguel and Bombardera Streets and will unite all fragments of the new museum complex. These facades will be solid, simple, and closed, in order to not interfere with, nor to mimic the clear order of the windows of the Tosos Palace and the current museum. A subtle motive – almost imperceptible depending on the position of the sun – will be cast into the concrete façades. The only opening to San Miguel Street is a large window to present pedestrians with the temporary exhibition.

To allow for a continuous exhibition route and easy accessibility the galleries will run horizontally through the three parts of the museum. The floors of the new building will be placed at heights matching the old ones. The Tosos Palace and the new building are connected on all levels, and the new building with the current museum at the -1, 0, and +3 levels.. The new complex has one main entrance, though it is possible – when required – to assign independent roles to the three parts as their interior circulations are maintained.

Programme and circulation
The new spaces will provide open and diaphanous gallery spaces complementing the smaller and more fragmented plans of the old buildings. The temporary collection and the contemporary art gallery will run parallel to Ayora Street. The administration area , the director’s office, and the library will be located at the Tosos Palace. As additions to the given programme we propose a museum café, an atelier for students of the Beaux Arts, and a guestroom for visiting representatives of the museum. The position of the storage rooms on each floor is determined by the loading area on the ground floor which can only be placed on Bombardera Street.

We accept all the uses that the Tosos Palace has had over the centuries and we do not try to emphasise a supposedly original version. In the initial openings the glass is set back from the facade, while in later additions were aligned with the exterior. Our interventions will be in the interior: a big cut in the floors +2 and +3 will communicate visually the library and the exhibitions paces and allow the light that enters through the top arches to flood the entire space.

The main feature of the new spaces is a big cascading staircase that connects all floors – visually as well. The staircase is very wide on levels -1 and ±0 and may be used for lectures, projections, or as part of the exhibition space. The stairs becomes smaller when reaching the upper floors. In the new building this staircase is decentred, but is positioned in the virtual centre of the new complex.

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Title: Teruel City Museum
Project name: Expansion of the Teruel City Museum (Museo Provincial de Teruel)
Date: November – December 2006
Type: Open International Competition
Organizer: Diputación Provincial de Teruel
Participants: 67
Location: Teruel, Spain
Site: Marques de Tossos Palace and San Miguel, Ayora and Bombardera streets.
Programme: Temporary Exhibitions hall, Historical exhibition hall, Room for didactic activities, Library, Deposit, Restaurant, Archives
Surface: 5.200 m²
Status: Competition
Client: Diputación Provincial de Teruel
Budget: € 5, 7 Mill.
STAR Team: Beatriz Ramo, Andreas Kofler, Simon Davis