Documents 20. The Idea of a Museum

Architecture from the Museo Reina Sofía’s Central Archive

Friday, 3, and Tuesday, 14 December 2021 - 6pm
Organised by
Museo Reina Sofía

The Documents programme explores the relationships between art and publishing, and other subjects that include the effects of archive on narratives of art history, the artist’s book and publishing as an artistic practice. This new edition analyses the presence of architecture in the Museo Reina Sofía’s Central Archive, a repository of memory containing, in fragments, the history of the institution: its origins as a hospital of neoclassicism, its role during the Spanish Civil War as a field hospital, its transformation into an art centre and its expansion as an international museum. Various landmarks that enable a micro history of civil and public architecture to be traced from the 18th century to the present day, but without losing sight of the process of configuration and the idea of what a museum must be.

Documents 20 unfolds across two sessions. In the first, editor, critic and architectural historian, Moisés Puente, gives a lecture in which he analyses the prototypes of the different architect’s offices that participated in the International Architecture Tender to Expand the Museo Reina Sofía, organised in 1999. In the second, the Library and Central Archive team will conduct a visit around the Museo, focusing on documents created by this tender and preserved in the institution.


Moisés Puente is an architect, editor and translator of architectural subjects. He is the editor of the magazine 2G and founder of the independent publisher Puente Editores. Furthermore, he has edited books with texts by Alejandro de la Sota, Josep Llinàs, Jørn Utzon and Mies van der Rohe, among others, and is the author of monographs on the domestic work of Mies van der Rohe and the work of Alejandro de la Sota. In 2010, he won an FAD Award for Thought and Critique for his professional career as an editor. He has recently published Cháchara y otras historias de la arquitectura (Caniche editorial, 2021)


Actividad pasada Friday, 3 December 2021 - 6pm
The Possible Reinas
Lecture by Moisés Puente

This lecture analyses the prototypes from the architect’s offices that participated in the International Architecture Tender to Expand the Museo Reina Sofía, organised in 1999. Such a tender brought together over one hundred international studios and in the final stretch saw twelve finalists compete: Tadao Ando, Santiago Calatrava, Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz, David Chipperfield, Manuel de las Casas, Zaha M. Hadid, Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue, Luis Moreno Mansilla and Emilio Tuñón, Juan Navarro Baldeweg, Jean Nouvel (the final winner of the tender), Dominique Perrault and Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra. The prototypes and documents from the Central Archive, shown for the first time in this lecture, have been recovered following extensive research allowing participants’ reflections on the institution to be reviewed, as well as elucidating the development of some of the ideas on the Museo that never came to fruition, for instance a public garden and large communal spaces. 

Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200

204 people


Free, until full capacity is reached, with prior ticket collection on the Museo Reina Sofía website from 10am on the last working day before the activity. A maximum of 2 per person. Doors open 30 minutes before the activity.

Actividad pasada Tuesday, 14 December 2021 – 6pm
Tour from the Central Archive

In the second session of the activity, Isabel Bordes, Alberto Medina and Daniel Pecharromán, members of the Library and Central Archive team, will introduce the archive and conduct a tour around different rooms and places in the Museo with the aim of evaluating, in situ, the spatial and functional evolution of some of the buildings that make up the institution, as well as casting light on the impact of these architectural and urbanistic decisions on the civic environment. The visit contributes to offering new perspectives on the usual areas of the Museo, and includes stops at less-frequent or little-known places for visitors, and to highlight different projects in which the Museo is currently immersed. The visit concludes at one of the repositories of the Central Archive, where the team will show some of the roles, aims and services of this documentary centre and a selection of materials related to the institution’s architecture: objects, plans, photographs and other documents able to reconstruct one part, partial and incomplete but also engrossing and unknown, of the history of the institution. 

Tour from the Central Archive

30 people


Free, until full capacity is reached, with prior registration by writing to