Ateneo de Madrid Refurbishment, Spain

Date: 2016-2022. Ateneo de Madrid
Status: Completed
Category: Completed, Refurbishment, 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
● Selected proposal of the CSCAE Architecture Awards 2023


Ateneo de Madrid “La Docta Casa”: Ateneo de Madrid is a private institution, declared by the Government as a “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 (special room for discussions), the Gallery of Portraits and the Manuel Azaña office, which were – among others – contributing to the creative and intellectual history of Spain.
The complex is located in the heart of the inner city of Madrid, and is composed by three buildings: Prado 19, 21, and Santa Catalina 10. It is listed as a BIC (Bien de Interés Cultural) with the category of a Monument. The original building of Prado 21 was designed in 1884 by Enrique Fort y Luis de Landecho, with interiors made by Arturo Mélida y Alinari.
The refurbishment and restoration works are part of an ambitious program for Architecture Heritage Conservation by the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda of Spain.
Restoration and refurbishment, an attitude: the key aim of the project is to eliminate all negative impacts which influenced the building in the last century. Besides, it was updated to current accessibility standards. The restoration and reparation 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 old without imitating it. Following the charter of Venice and for a clear reading of the whole intervention, all the new works and additions are linked by using a new and unique material: oak wood.
Returning natural light to Ateneo: the whole process has been a work of “contemporary archaeology”. The existing main section of the building was equipped with skylights over the main two stairs. Those were able to articulate spatially to the complex. In the middle of the 20th century, these skylights and the double story high entrance hall were closed. The project invests most of the efforts in this main longitudinal section, in recovering its spatial configuration and returning natural light to Ateneo!