The MNBA, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Gallery), holds the biggest art collection in the Southern Hemisphere (13.000 art pieces, 3.000 fine canvas), but shows unsolved urban, architectonic and economic problems. In 2000 its former director Jorge Glusberg asked Pouchulu a concept to expand the building. After a few months, he presented a large underground extension and a new access, solving three main issues, the existing building is isolated (surrounded by the busiest avenues of the Capital, difficult access for pedestrians), its entrance is too small and cannot be extended (it is surrounded by trees). First, he located the entrance across Libertador Avenue in Plaza Francia, through a Crystal Dome over the extraordinary French monument. By doing this, the museum will attract a percentage of the 250.000 visitors that visit Recoleta every day. Second, the new space is located under Libertador avenue, showing the 20th and 21st Century collections. The existing Museum, an old pumping station transformed in 1932 by Alejandro Bustillo (prominent Argentinean architect) is left intact and will have 19th century and pre-Columbian art. Third, by placing a large car parking complex, art shops and amenities the museum will become sustainable, it will receive many drivers from the north. They will be able to park, visit the restaurant, cafe, shops, then go to work and vice-versa. The MNBA/Modern complex becomes a transferring station. The scheme includes an auditorium-cinema, interactive areas boxes artist' voices will be heard, and a Piazza-cafe complete the scheme. Buenos Aires, cultural capital of the southern Hemisphere, receives more than 5.000.000 tourists per year, surpassing any other city or country in the sub-continent. This addition of 11.000 squares metres will double its area and quintuple its visitors. This old institution from 1896 will be at the vanguard in South America, becoming an ingenious cultural asset.  EN   ES

architect: POUCHULU / structural engineer consultant: NICK MACLEAN, London / location: Buenos Aires, Argentina / funding: private investor / project: 2000-16 / funding type: PPP (private-public project) / total new area: 11.500 sqm / budget: U$80.000.000 / Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu Architect 2000-16

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