Foster Drops Madrid Foundation

Una oportunidad perdida


Neither the outcry in public opinion nor the support expressed by local architects, nor even an eventual apparent willingness on the part of Mayor Ana Botella to adjust has made Norman Foster change his mind: his Foundation will not be located in Madrid. This is the sad ending of a very quick process that began in June 2013, when for 9 million euros Foster bought from Bankia what had once been the palace of the Duke of Plasencia, built in the year 1902 by Joaquín Saldaña, a favorite architect of Madrid’s aristocratic circles.

With a cost estimate of fifteen million euros the project sought to renovate the 1,700-square-meter building and add a new three-storey construction, making it home to a broad cultural program involving the architect’s own professional archive, as well as his valuable collection of works of art and design. With the backing of City Hall, which presented it as a “strategic” investment, the project was announced in November 2013, but when sent on to the CIPHAN (Institutional Commission for the Protection of Historical-Artistic and Natural Heritage) they rejected the proposed link at the upper level between the old building and the new. Adding an extra core for vertical circulation would have consumed so much gallery space on a restricted site, as to render the project unfeasible. Foster is now looking for a more suitable location: probably London or New York.

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