At the beginning of the course, we were told to choose an architect to work about during the semester.  when I chose Gaetana Aulenti I knew nothing about her but eventually I have got more and more familiar with her work. Thanks to her, I have become interested in the history of the museums as well as in the artwork that is inside.  

In October I went to the fine arts museum of Valencia (Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia) and I enjoyed both the pictures and the building itself. I had walked by the museum a couple of times before and it never occurred to me that that was a museum, I thought that it was a church. After having done some research about it, I found out that it is indeed a religious building, the seminar of saint Pio V. The museum was moved there after the civil war before it had been in other religious buildings such as the convent of Carmen Calzado.   

this is the interior o the palace

During the Christmas holidays I decided to revisit the museums of my city but paying more attention to the buildings rather than the pieces. The most important museum of Elche is the MAHE (Museo Arqueológico y de Historia de Elche). Even though I had been several times before with school, I had never paid attention to the building itself. And I found out that it is way more interesting than I expected.  

how the two parts are connected

The museum was first built in the municipal parc but eventually it was too small to host all the pieces, so it was moved to the Palacio de Altamira, a palace of the former landlord. In 2004, the museum was expanded a new building was built. This became the MAHE as it is nowadays. As you can see in the pictures, the building is integrated in the old wall of the city and it is connected to the palace by a corridor that is lower than the pavement. The new part contrast with the wall and the palace that are from Muslim origin. The building hosts the archaeological part and the palace the historical one. In addition to that, in the interior of the palace there are concerts and other cultural events sometimes.  

the glass screens

What I first noticed at the museum was that the screens that separated the different parts of the exposition were made of glass so you can see through them. This gives the place a sense of continuity since you can see all the parts of the room no matter where you are standing. I think it is a great decision because all the exposition is about the archaeological origins of the city and its surroundings so there is a continuity all along the exhibition.  

thick walls  

On the other hand, in the museum of fine arts the pictures hung on thick walls that were all over the place. I remember that it called my attention that they were painted in different sober colours. It came to my mind Gae Aulenti, she was criticised when she redecorated the walls of the M’O, and people complained about it being too provocative.   

I really enjoyed going to the places I had been before and looking at them from another perspective, I wish I knew more about art and architecture to understand better the places I go to because it is a great experience to actually understand what you are seeing.  

Fine Arts Museum
Santa María Church from the top of the wall (Elche)

bibliography :

information about the MAHE

information and photos of the Fine Arts Museum

The photos of the MAHE were taken by me.