Francisco Mangado in Oviedo

Scenes and Palimpsest


Working in historical environments can be a poisoned gift. Since the year 2007, when he won the major competition for the extension of the Asturias Museum of Fine Arts in Oviedo, the Pamplona-based Francisco Mangado has had to deal with problems of every kind. Some, contextual in nature, have been inevitable: from the need to preserve all facades declared cultural assets – regardless of whether or not they have artistic value – to the appearance, during construction work, of Roman remains, which had to be incorporated into the new building and which, in passing, were reason for archaeologists to study the city’s chronology. The other problems, budgetary in character and caused by the economic crisis, made the Administration give up the second phase of the museum’s enlargement; a controversial decision resulting, with opening day approaching, in a lack of proper connection between the old building and the new one. Even with these crooked wickers, nevertheless, Mangado has succeeded in weaving a beautiful fabric that, morever, respectfully inserts itself into the context. To achieve this he has used two materials: the sequence of historical facades, which he has treated as an objet trouvé and as a curtain covering the scene of the new building; and the structure of inner block courtyards, translated into voids excavating the building and into the large skylight whose section, disturbingly asymmetrical, already looks onto the city of Oviedo’s cathedral square.

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