The exhibition “DOMUSae, Spaces for Culture” is held in the Salón de Reinos, Madrid’s old Army Museum, the only testimony together with the nearby Casón of the old Buen Retiro Palace, built by the Conde-Duque de Olivares for King Philip IV between 1632 and 1640. The Salón de Reinos owes its name to the paintings of the coat of arms of the twenty-four kingdoms ruled by Philip IV in the lunettes in the vaulted ceiling. With the passage of time, the initial uses of the Buen Retiro Palace changed and various spatial transformations were undertaken. After the Peninsular War the majority of the palace was destroyed and new uses were found for the remaining wing of the Salón de Reinos until it finally became the Army Museum, only recently moved to the Alcázar of Toledo. The exhibition, object of the present design, is a representative collection of cultural buildings from recent Spanish history, some new and others that recuperate architecture from the past. Having the opportunity to use an uninhabited historic building to house this exhibition has enabled us to construct an exhibition route through the building’s empty spaces. This means that the visitor can simultaneously enjoy the content of the exhibition and experiment by way of spatial transition with new ways of seeing the original building. These interlinked spaces are underlined with the use of white flooring which begins and ends outside the building. The exhibition spaces reinterpret the place that is the original building sometimes emphasising its original proportions and other times manipulating them to make the route a varied journey in sensorial perception. The exhibition has a double entrance marked by opposite doors situated on the transversal axis of the building. The exhibition route begins on the ground floor at an entrance threshold which houses a series of large photographs showing the previous state of three buildings for culture which will be the subject of future architectural interventions. Other photographs show several pieces of art just before being placed in their correct exhibition spaces. On the main floor the exhibition is divided into three spaces. In the first room there is a selection of existing original documentation (plans, drawings, models and other documents). This leads on to the main space of the Salón de Reinos building, which has been transformed into a library built of Ikea Expedit bookshelves. Along with reference books on each architect, this room displays the material specifically elaborated for this exhibition, essentially models, photographs, films of the buildings and interviews with the architects. Finally the exhibition route ends in the last space where existing display cabinets from the old Army Museum contain an index detailing both the latest projects completed by the Gerencia de Infraestructuras y Equipamientos de Cultura and those which are still underway.
English Translation: Lucy Ratcliffe