Centro de Artes Visuales Fundación Helga de Alvear

Until September 30, 2020

Desire Paths: A New Building for a New Museum

  • Lugar:

    In your house

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The expression Desire Paths, taken from urbanism and urban design, in relation to those paths that pedestrians make against or as an alternative to those marked by urban design, made against their will and authority, could be extrapolated to activity like collector of Helga de Alvear, in which moved by the passion that works of art arouse in her, without being conditioned by names, trends or fashions, she creates her own paths of interest, without unnecessary detours or obstacles, without attending to anything else than his instinct and his constant dedication to current art, outside of predefined parameters or corsets. Gaston Bachelard in The Poetics of Space of 1957, quotes Georges Sand in relation to this poetics of the path: “Is there anything more beautiful than a path? It is the symbol and image of active and varied life.” Likewise, many artists have taken it as a motive for their works, such as Richard Long, Hamish Fulton or Jeff Wall, to cite only three artists represented in the Helga de Alvear Collection. But perhaps the most interesting thing is that Helga de Alvear invites us to share with her and walk along the trails she has been tracing.

For this Emilio Tuñón and his architecture studio have created a building and a landscaped space next to the “Casa Grande”, the new Helga de Alvear Museum of Contemporary Art, where the public will be invited to freely trace their own paths starting of the proposals made from its exhibition spaces and its education activities. We invite you to explore this new space through the photographs taken by Amores Pictures accompanied by a text from the project team of the Emilio Tuñón architecture studio. We hope that in the absence of being able to enjoy the building “live“, this tour will be the beginning of a new and fruitful path for everyone.

Helga de Alvear - Exteriores 3


A strategy, not a way

The project tries to listen to the place and to imagine a potential city that, without discarding our era, is capable of preserving the way the city breathes.

Helga de Alvear - Exteriores 4

It is a matter of finding the common territory between what is contemporary and what allows the city to recognise itself; a figure, or better yet, a strategy, that contains both sides in itself.

Helga de Alvear - Exteriores 8

Helga de Alvear - Exteriores 1

A strategy considered in terms of opportunities. A set of rules dictated by the pre-existing. A reinterpretation of what makes the project, the container and the content, a gift for the city.

Helga de Alvear - Interiores 6

A limit that is a meeting point. The plot forms a border in the city both in history, on the edge of the medieval old town, and in geography, an element that perches and forms the cracks of a trench.

Helga de Alvear - Interiores 7

The proposal restores the character of the area of transit and exchange that used to be the identity of the space outside the walls and makes it permeable. From the street Pizarro, under the pre-existing facade and through the back garden, a public route unfolds, being one more link in the chain of squares and alleys through which the old town of Cáceres is navigated. This also functions as a natural way of preserving the slope that leads to the new part of the city.

Helga de Alvear - Interiores 9

In the same way that art, once the privilege of an elite, becomes accessible, the building also tries in an urban trompe l’oeil, if not to eliminate, to twist and dilute the only limit that almost always remains, what belongs to a few and what belongs to all, articulating a public artery in the void that crosses the private sphere without touching it.

Helga de Alvear - Interiores 1

The presence of the possible: that which remains and that which changes. The project is faithful to the essence of what exists and the proposed set does not differ much from what the site is now: a house with a garden.

Helga de Alvear - Interiores 5

The forceful traces remain, the round volumetrics are almost intact, a distorted reflection of the orthogonal and stone geometry of the “Casa Grande, while the apparent hermeticism dissolves in the accessible exterior routes. A “house”, also in terms of functions, housing the administrative nucleus with which the centre will operate, and a “new house”, for leisure and a welcoming stroll, which also houses the warehouses and facilities that will feed the building.

Helga de Alvear - Exteriores 2

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