The Fine Arts museum of Castellón is planned around a courtyard with magnificent cypresses, which used to belong to the former school of Serra Espada. The building housing the exhibition rooms is a stack of identical floors in which a double-height space is shifted forming a tiered series of voids that, while using identical elements, turns each floor into a different space. Slender in its proportions and facing the front, the museum guards the treasures of the city like a sphinx, protected by a shell of cast aluminium slates.
The program of the museum is organized in four separate areas: public, semi-public, work and storage. Located in the central building, around the landscaped cloister, are the private museum annexes and offices (semi-public area). Next to it, on the eastern side, a newly designed, cube-shaped construction is built to shelter the exhibition rooms of the permanent collection (public area). On the western side, and separated from the rest of the buildings, a new longitudinal building houses the restoration department (the working area). Finally, the storage space, which is located on the basement, connects the working areas with the public building.The artwork exhibited in this museum is made up of four collections. The museum had therefore to merge four permanent exhibitions into one building without each one of them losing its personality. The main building, which houses the permanent collection, is constructed as a stack of five floors that are different and yet the same. The five exhibition levels are linked by a cascade of double-height voids that provide a diagonal view spanning the entire section of the building. This sectional device enables a strong spatial compactness to be wed to a diversity of spaces which can be perceived as a succession of three scales: that of the exhibition rooms, that of the double-height voids, and that of the building as a whole that is seen through the diagonal space.
TECHNICAL DATA. Location: Avenida de los Hermanos Bou, Castellón, Spain. Architects: Luis M. Mansilla and Emilio Tuñón. Client: Castellón Cultural S.A. Collaborators: Andrés Regueiro, Clara Moneo, Matilde Peralta, María Linares, Jaime Prior, Andrés Rojo, Félix Larragueta, David Nadal, Fernando García-Pino, Jaime Gimeno, Katrien Vertenten, Gregory Peñate and Oscar F. Aguayo. Structural engineers: Alfonso Gómez Gaite. Mechanical engineers: J.G. Asociados. Graphic design: Gráfica Futura. Construction manager: Luis M. Mansilla, Emilio Tuñón and Jaime Prior. Quantity Surveyor/Technical Architect: Santiago Hernán and Juan Carlos Corona. Competition: 1996. Design project: 1997. Work completion: 2000. Built area: 12.000 m2. General contractor: Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas S.A. Photographer: Luis Asín