Openings News Spain

Norman Foster cancels plans to move private foundation to Madrid

The British architect will not transform a historic Spanish mansion into an architecture museum

Foster's mansion in Madrid. Photo: Samuel Sánchez

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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14 Apr 14
3:22 CET


This proposed transformation is nothing as compared to Lord Foster's proposal to eviscerate the NY Public Library by removing the stacks that used to hold about 3.2 million research books for quick retrieval. For more information and to sign a petition against this travesty, please visit Do not be fooled by the rhetoric offered by the Library's public relations personnel. It injures the general public, too, not just researchers, because it requires closing the most-used circulating library in the city, called Mid-Manhattan, as well as the Science-Industry-Business library.

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