New Building

The architect Emilio Tuñón is in charge of the project of constructing a new building to complement the existing spaces of the Casa Grande. With this project, Emilio Tuñón seeks “to build a simple volume, from the formal and constructive point of view, establishing a direct dialogue with the Casa Grande.” The new building will not only enlarge the exhibition area of the Helga de Alvear Foundation’s Centro de Artes Visuales, allowing more space to display the Helga de Alvear Collection and providing the institution with an auditorium, but will also allow a reordering of the Casa Grande’s spaces and house the administrative department. The new layout will involve the conversion of some of the current spaces into temporary exhibition rooms, a documentation centre and educational services department. As part of the project, the development of this part of the city will create a public pedestrian route joining the old quarter with the new part of the city. In total, the project involves a surface area of about 8,000 square metres.

In the new building, the galleries will be laid out in an ordered and flexible way, arranged on four levels. On the first will be the ticket office and checkpoint before entering a spacious, high gallery where large works can be displayed. A descending gallery route begins on this floor.

The second gallery level consists of two large rooms, one of them coinciding with the beginning of a large illuminated space with a window out onto the new garden of the Centro de Artes Visuales Helga de Alvear. The second room allows exterior access to the new workshop floor of the Casa Grande.

The third gallery level is divided into three rooms of similar size, offering a versatile exhibition space thanks to the structural and functional support of two transverse walls. This space has a height of ten metres, ideal for displaying tall pieces.

The last of the gallery floors is at the Camino Llano street level, perfect for the entrance and exit of cargo, storage rooms and the possibility of a gallery linked to street level, and therefore very versatile in terms of its possibilities.

Urban Planing Purposes

  • Incorporate an architectural element to develop activities and contribute to the revitalization of the historic city center.
  • Add an architectural model in order to strengthen internal permeability of the block.
  • Recover most of the gardens of the building for public use.
  • Set up a building linked to la Casa Grande, in order to give it the same Historic Interest designation.
  • Add nº10 building of Calle Pizarro to la Casa Grande, in order to make the access between this street and Camino Llano easier.
  • Improve urban accessibility to Camino Llano.
  • Recover Camino Llano retaining wall made of stone, and finish the party wall between the neighboring residential building and this wall.

Architectural Purposes

  • Create an effective and versatile cultural attraction, with a balanced and recognizable image.
  • Build a clear construction, from the formal and constructive perspectives, setting up a close communication with la Casa Grande.
  • Cluster the exhibition halls of Helga de Alvear Foundation through a functional, organized and flexible structure, organized in four levels
  • Enhance the façade and the interior of the building.
  • Open a covered corridor to the center of the block, by changing the existing architectural characteristics of the historic city center.
  • Rearrange la Casa Grande to accommodate Helga de Alvear Foundation offices, temporary exhibition halls, library and workshops.


Actual Conditions

  • Area of public use: 2.900 m2
  • Area of private use: 900 m2
  • Total area: 3.800 m2


Second Phase of the Visual Arts Centre

  • Area of public use and garden: 2.300 m2
  • Useful area: 1.500 m2
  • Builded area: 5.000 m2
  • Exposition area: 3.000 m2
  • Budget: 10.000.000 €