The building of the Museum

Artium fachada principal

The Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basque Country, Artium Museoa, is located in the centre of Vitoria-Gasteiz, next to the city’s Medieval Quarter and the main business and entertainment areas of the city. Together with the Montehermoso Culture Centre and the Playing Cards, Archaeology and Natural History museums, all situated within the Medieval Quarter, Artium Museoa also forms part of the city's cultural axis.

The Museum stands on a trapezoidal, almost rectangular square, edged by the following streets: Francia, La Paloma, La Esperanza and Prudencio María Verástegui.

Edificio Artium

The Museum's architect, José Luis Catón , opted to create a large, open space for public use. As in the 18th-century Plaza de España and the Plaza de la Provincia, this would provide the inhabitants of the densely populated city centre with a place for relaxation and social intercourse.

On the oter hand, this huge public space allows Artium to exhibit some of the most important works of the collection.

The passer-by can find here, in constant dialogue, three sculptures by three of the greatest artists of XX Century: Richard Serra (Finkl Octagon, 1991), Jorge Oteiza (Mirador mirando, 1958) and Eduardo Chillida (Elogio de la Arquitectura XIV, 1994). The place also houses a big work by Vicente Larrea (Broca kenkenes, 1976) and a monumental sculpture by Miquel Navarro (La mirada, 2001).

Artium has prepared a booklet about these works that can also be read on line.

In dialogue: Chillida, Oteiza, Serra (Issuu) In dialogue: Chillida, Oteiza, Serra (pdf)

The building is arranged around and underneath this square: as in a winery, a large proportion of this building lies underground. To the West, a large white concrete cube frames the main entrance to the centre-museum and to a number of additional spaces and services: the main lobby, the Auditorium, the Plaza Room, the Cube Restaurant, the ticket office and cloakroom, among others.

Edificio Artium

In the main lobby, visitors' attention is divided between two works, the Mural cerámico by Joan Miró and Llorens Artigas and the monumental sculpture Un Pedazo de Cielo Cristalizado, by Javier Pérez. The anteroom of the centre-museum, which provides access to the galleries, is situated seven metres below ground level.

To the right and left, one finds the entrances into the A0, a1 and A2 Galleries that lie under the square and communicate with two more galleries, A3 and A4 Galleries, forming a kind of "U".

On ground level once more, situated over the A3 and A4 Galleries, there is a grey granite building that closes off one side of the square and contains the didactic and image workshops, the Library and Documentation Centre, and the administrative services of the Museum.

Architecture of a cellar-museum (pdf)  Artium. The buiilding (book)

Montehermoso Cultural Center  Bibat Archaeology Museum  Bibat Cards Museum  Natural History Museum 

Image Gallery

View the embedded image gallery online at:

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