Atop an extended urban expanse the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC) defines the art venue in the same optimistic way Roman surveyors laid their towns out on the landscape.
As opposed to other kinds of space whose museistic quality is centered on the showing of finite historical collections, the MUSAC is a living space that opens the door to a wide range of contemporary artistic expressions; an art center that constructs a series of game boards in which action is the leading player of the space itself; a structure that develops from an open system made up of a fabric of squares and rhomboids which permit a secret geography of memory to be constructe.
The architecture of MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Castilla y León, has become one of the Spanish projects with wide international recognition due to its winning in 2007 of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies van der Rohe Award and its participation on the exhibition On- Site: New Architecture in Spain, that the MoMA New York devoted to the most important recent architectural projects in Spain. The MUSAC also represented Spain at the Venice Architecture Bienal in 2004.
Three years of work and an investment of 33 million Euros have led to the creation of the spectacular building that will house the MUSAC. The architects from Madrid, Luis Moreno Mansilla and Emilio Tuñón, winners of the 2003 National Architecture Prize awarded for their Ciudad de León Auditorium, have planned the museum as an extensive cultural area built in diversified adjoining spaces that aims to emphasize the interest on contemporary expression that art and architecture share. Designed by the architects Luis M. Mansilla and Emilio Tuñón, authors of emblematic buildings such as the Museo de Bellas Artes de Castellón, Museo de Zamora, Museo de Cantabria—under construction—or the Ciudad de León Auditorium, for which they were awarded the National Architecture Prize in 2003, the MUSAC is located in a residential area in the west of the city of León.
"The MUSAC is a new space for culture, understanding this as something which renders the links between human beings and nature visible. A set of autonomous, interconnected exhibition rooms enables exhibitions of different types and sizes to be created; each irregularly shaped room constructs a continuous, yet spatially separate space which gives onto the other rooms and patios, providing longitudinal, transversal and diagonal vistas. Five hundred prefabricated beams close off a series of spaces characterized by systematic repetition and formal expressiveness.
Outside, the public space assumes a concave shape in order to accommodate different activities and encounters, a shape subsumed by huge colored panels of glass in which homage is paid to the city as a place of personal intercommunication. Inside, a great expanse of continuous, yet distinctive, spaces dotted with patios and large skylights gives rise to an expressive system that communicates the interests art and architecture share: the contemporary manifestation of the variable and the perennial, the different and the same, the universal and the transitory, as an echo of our own diversity and equality as individuals.
In its extension, as a building of a single plant constructed with white concrete walls and great glasses of colors to the outside, the MUSAC wants to be a space where the art feels like coway and helps to erase the borders between the private thing and I publish it, between the leisure and the work and, really, between the art and the life". Mansilla + Tuñón (Excerpt from 2-G Magazine nÂº 27)
The MUSAC building was designed by architects Emilio Tuñón and Luis Mansilla.
Mansilla + Tuñón bio
In 1992 Emilio Tuñón Álvarez (1958) and Luis M. Mansilla (1959) founded the firm MANSILLA + TUÑÓN ARQUITECTOS, awarded with the MIES VAN DER ROHE PRIZE 2007 (Prize for Contemporary Architecture of the European Union), National Prize for Spanish Architecture 2003, FAD Prize 2001.
Emilio Tuñón and Luis M. Mansilla are titular professors of the Department of Architectural Projects in Madrid. They have been professors in a number of universities, among which are the Graduate School of Design in Harvard, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne, the New School of Architecture in Puerto Rico and the Städelschule in Frankfurt. They are currently giving clases in the School of Architecture of Princeton University.
In 1993 they founded the cooperative of thought CIRCO, coming out with a publication under the same title, and which has been awarded with the FAD Special Prize 2007, the prize for the III Iberoamerican Bienal for Architecture and Engineering 2002 and the C.O.A.M. Prize 2005.
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