Museums and exhibition spaces

Sevilla. Spain

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Contemporary art exhibition space in the old Madre de Dios Convent in Seville

María González y Juanjo López de la Cruz, arquitectos

Description Technical file

The authors’ reflections on this refurbishment project follows two lines of argument: acceptance of the space as a context that changes over time and the, on occasion, dissolution of the existing limits between production and exhibition in contemporary art.

The intervention interprets the place where it stands like a context that has been continuously altered over the centuries, a changing space resulting from the transformations occurred over time that have marked it with various traces and scars that do not allow us to read its history but do offer the testimony of an unceasing material manipulation that confirms the paradox that it is ultimately the space, that which is most intangible and fluid, which most persistently endures. The project also results from a reflection on the creation of contemporary art, its unforeseeable condition and the dissolution on numerous occasions of the fragile existing limits between the production and the exhibition spaces.

The building where the intervention takes place has undergone numerous alterations since it was part of the original convent of Madre de Dios de la Piedad in the 16th century. From the 1868 disentailment onwards, uses succeeded each other that were always connected with university education, until the present day, when it accommodates the Centre for Cultural Initiatives of the University of Seville. Beyond its historiographical interest, this whole succession of transformations suggests a continuous material alteration that transcends architectural styles and whose only invariants were the outline of the centrelines around the cloister courtyard, the alignment to the public space and to the Jewish wall and the heterogeneous brick fabric that defines the construction, revealing the traces of the successive transformations it has undergone over time.

The architectural intervention, understood as an installation in the existing space, accepts its gradual execution over time. A first action enables the use of this space, revealing the layers that concealed the brick walls and removing the poorly preserved floor and joinery. From this point on, few elements have been introduced: an electrified rail, steel lintels and jambs in the doors, which recover their profile, and the new joinery in the cloister, which again picks up and recovers its transparent relationship with the courtyard. This current state recalls an intermediate moment in the works, which was the basis for all the options that are again possible.

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Localización Location: Antiguo convento de Madre de Dios. C/ Madre de Dios 1, Sevilla. Spain. Promotor Promotor: Centro de Iniciativas Culturales de la Universidad de Sevilla. Arquitecto Architect: Sol89. María González y Juanjo López de la Cruz. Colaboradores Collaborators: Alejandro Cabanas (instalaciones). Andrés Pino (estudiante de arquitectura). Arquitectos Técnicos Technical Architects: Pere Puigcerver Femenia. Constructor General contractor: Cotracom. Superficie construida Built area: 830 m2. Presupuesto de obra Work budget: 368.348€. Año proyecto Project date: 2012. Ejecución Completion: Septiembre 2013 - Enero 2014 (primera fase). Fotografía Photography: Fernando Alda
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Carril electrificado: Erco
Juanjo López de la Cruz
María González

Fernando Alda Calvo