Ateneo de Madrid Refurbishment, Spain

Date: 2016/-
Status: Under construction
Category: In progress, Culture, Facility
Tags: Heritage refurbishment Madrid, BIC Madrid, Listed building restoration, Ateneo de Madrid


Client: Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (Fomento) of the Government of Spain (project included in a program for Refurbishment of the Architecture Spanish Heritage). Ateneo de Madrid.
Location: Ateneo Científico, Literario y Artístico de Madrid. Calle Prado 21, Madrid, Spain
Program: Refurbishment and restoration of the Ateneo de Madrid listed building. Culture facility, library, concert hall, conference room, gallery, offices.
Total GF Area: 5.950,00 m2 (Prado 19-21, Santa Catalina 10)
Budget: 2.033.502,28
Architecture: Gutiérrez-delaFuente Arquitectos
Collaborators: Teresa Castillo, Raquel Marugán, Lara Casabona, Daniel Bueno, Cristina Infante
Structure: Mecanismo Ingeniería
Installations: 2pi Ingeniería
Surveyors: Jorge Carrión, Ignacio Moreno
Safe & Risk Management: Previntegra
Construction Company: PECSA
Photographs / video: Fernando Alda, Davide Curatola


(*the pictures showed are organized from top to down in three blocks: archive, 2016 status before the works and the works 2019/2020)

2020 The Bicentenary of Ateneo de Madrid: Ateneo de Madrid is a private institution declared by the Government as “public utility service” focused on the dissemination of science, arts and literature since 1820. The building contains a collection of emblematic spaces, such as the Library, the Concert Hall, the Cacharrería, the Gallery of Portraits, or the Manuel Azaña office, among others, that have been witness of the creative and intellectual history of Spain.
The complex is located at the heart of the inner city of Madrid, and is composed of three buildings: Prado 19, 21, and Santa Catalina 10, and is fully Listed as BIC (Bien de Interés Cultural) with the category of Monument. The original building of Prado 21 was designed in 1884 by Enrique Fort y Luis de Landecho, with interiors by Arturo Mélida y Alinari. Restoration and refurbishment works are necessary to face the next decades. In autumn 2020 Ateneo celebrates its Bicentenary showing a new vision, but maintaining the same identity of the “Docta Casa” as Valle-Inclán described in “Luces de Bohemia”.
Restoration and refurbishment, an attitude: the key aim of the project is to eliminate all negative impacts suffered by the building in last century, and the update to current accessibility standards. The restoration and repair of the existing is driven by the idea that the original structure should be emphasized in its spatial context and original materiality, the new reflects the lost without imitating it. Following the Charter of Venice and for a clear reading of the intervention, all the new works and additions are linked by the use of a new and unique material: oak wood.
Returning natural light to Ateneo: the whole process has been a work of “contemporary archaeology”. The original main section of the building was impressive with skylights over the main two stairs that were able to articulate spatially the complex. In the middle of the 20th century, these skylights were closed, and now, the project invests most of the budget and the efforts in this main and brilliant longitudinal section, in recovering its spatial configuration, and returning natural light to Ateneo in its Bicentenary!