Museum of fine arts of Asturias, Oviedo (Spain)


Museum of fine arts of Asturias, Oviedo (Spain)

Urban fabric is a frequently used metaphor to describe construction operations in city centres. In this case it takes on the complexity of mineral lace.






Architect: Mangado y asociados S.L.  Contractor: Cubiertas la Murias, 
Technique: VMZINC® Standing seam, Surface aspect: QUARTZ-ZINC®


When the Spanish provinces became autonomous after the fall of the Franco regime, institutional facilities were created to embody the new status of the regions. Although the Fine Arts Museum of Asturias in Oviedo was planned in 1969 by the provincial government and the municipality, it is also a result of this wave of decentralisation and it was inaugurated in 1980. The issue of its extension was raised in the 1980s, after the opening of the Casa de Oviedo-Portal, which joined the Velarde Palace in 1986, then the construction of a more recent extension, inaugurated in 2015. The surface area of the first two buildings (Casa de Oviedo-Portal and Velarde Palace, built respectively in the 17th and 18th centuries) were no longer sufficient to house a collection regularly enriched thanks to a policy of acquisitions, deposits and donations, and the bequest of the financier Pedro Masaveu Peterson. In order to extend the museum, five buildings adjoining the Casa de Oviedo- Portal were acquired, despite many inherent constraints: narrow buildings with several different owners, archaeological remains that disrupted site work, etc.



The new museum extension was awarded in 2007 through a competitive process to architect Francisco Mangado, a native of Navarre who had already worked on several cultural facilities throughout Spain. The various constructions did not allow the creation of the appropriate exhibition spaces the Museum wanted, but the dimensions and scale of the exterior aesthetics were part of the collective imagination of the historic town of Oviedo. The proposition made it possible to preserve the urban fabric formed by the existing facades and to create a new building behind the historic facade, generating an urban tension between the two constructions. The new glazed, luminous volume creates reflections of the old facade, combining strength and subtlety. To achieve this, the architect used mirror-like ribbed glass.


Natural light, which is a particularly sensitive subject in a museum, is provided through large hollows in the facades and large skylights that give a sculptural appearance to the roof, which can create a dialogue with the neighbouring roofs. The roofing is perfectly identifiable in the urban fabric thanks to three QUARTZ-ZINC® turrets, and is designed to be visible from a distance, but discreet at closer view.