Museu de Lleida

Finalist · III Mostra d’arquitectura de les terres de Lleida

The museum occupies the site of the former Carmelite convent in Lleida. From the edifice of the old convent only the Baroque chapel has been maintained, which is located inside the new building and is integrated into the exhibition spaces.

The museum is at a meeting point between two versions of the same city: the small version is the old neighbourhood of Lleida and the larger version corresponds to consolidated urban extensions like the Rambla d’Aragó.

The museum is organised into four large main areas: the temporary exhibition area, the permanent exhibition, an area for welcoming the public and the storage and internal work area.

The museum is built on a plinth which resolves the difference in elevation between the Plaça de Sant Llorenç and the square that is being created between the County Archive and the Library of Lleida. This is achieved through different volumes that respond to the urban requirements of the zone. In this way, a pedestrian square with access to the museum is created between the main volume and the volume containing the temporary exhibition hall. Also, a part of the main volume spans overhead to form an arcade which connects this square with Carrer Santa Clara and Carrer Major. This makes for an urban fabric which reproduces the organisation of the old neighbourhood with its small alleyways, staircases and squares.

The access square carries into the main lobby, with the spaces for welcoming the public and the entrance to the internal work area. This square also provides access to the temporary exhibition hall. This hall is developed into a double space and can be used independently of the museum’s opening hours. This makes it useful for holding different cultural activities of the city.

The permanent exhibition halls occupy the most internal part of the museum. They practically have no openings. The chapel is integrated as if it were one more hall in the group of permanent exhibition spaces.

The internal work areas occupy the volume above the entrance lobby. This is where the museum’s administration and management, as well as the diffusion area and restoration workshop are located. The spaces for storing works of art are situated in the plinth of the building, under the square. These spaces are structured like a storage area that can be visited.

The permanent collection occupies the most important volume of the museum and is developed on two levels.

The museography of the permanent exhibition hall has two very distinct parts: the part corresponding to the archaeology of the Ancient World, which occupies the upper level of the permanent exhibition halls, and the part which holds pieces from the Romanesque era to the 19th century and occupies the lower level (and also corresponds to the chapel).

The archaeological display is treated in a formal manner, as if it were a journey through a dig site, and guides the spectator through materials which were found in different archaeological dig sites from the territory around Lleida until the Iberian and Roman eras. The Arab world occupies the last part of this level, with a much more enlightened museography which also reflects the change in mentality at the time.

The lower level begins with the Feudal era and then passes through the best works of Romanesque art, the Seu Vella, and the Gothic era. The entrance to the Baroque chapel marks the beginning of the Renaissance and the collection’s Baroque works. The route ends with an audiovisual presentation encouraging the spectators to visit Lleida’s other museums.