Norman Foster cancels plans to move private foundation to Madrid
The British architect will not transform a historic Spanish mansion into an architecture museum
By Belén Palanco. Web only
Published online: 09 April 2014
The British architect Norman Foster has cancelled plans to move his foundation from London to a historic mansion he purchased in Madrid. The decision comes after the Spanish city’s historic preservation commission rejected a proposal to remodel the listed building into a private museum for the study of contemporary architecture and design, that would also house his personal archives.
“The Norman Foster Foundation decided not to relocated its main base in Madrid,” a spokesman at the architect’s office told The Art Newspaper. “The reasons behind this decision are private,” he added, and would not give any further comments.
The mansion was designed by Joaquin Saldaña in 1902 for the Duke of Plasencia, and it was later used for embassies and bank offices. According to El Pais, Pritzker Prize-winning architect bought the building at 48 Monte Esquinza Street from the Spanish bank Bankia last year for just over €9m. (Foster is married to the Madrid-born art book publisher Elena Ochoa Foster.)
The city’s authorities originally approved Foster’s proposal to transform the historic mansion into a headquarters for his foundation when it was submitted late last year. But the architect recently made changes to the project that were voted down by the entire preservation commission, which includes government representatives from both the majority right-leaning Popular Party and the leftist Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party. One member from the Official Architects' Association of Madrid (COAM) does not hold the right to vote.
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