The Royal Collections Gallery (Galería de las Colecciones Reales) is a contemporary structure that completes the monumental heights of Madrid, creating a sense of continuity with the foundations of the Royal Palace and a seamless transition to the part of the city along the banks of the River Manzanares. In the gallery, visitors can admire paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, furniture, manuscripts, books and documents, and other objects representative of different historical periods, from the Middle Ages to the present day. It displays approximately 700 of the more than 150,000 pieces in the Royal Collections managed by the Spanish heritage agency Patrimonio Nacional.
The architecture of the gallery, with large exhibition halls connected by a ramp that descends from the level of the Royal Palace to the entrance at the bottom of Cuesta de la Vega, and the diversity of the exhibits to be accommodated in them determined the museographic solution: a connective backbone, articulated in segments, that structures a return itinerary through the permanent exhibition halls and makes it possible to assign each section a proportional surface area. This backbone, made of white-glazed wood, is a pedestal-like continuous plinth that can be used to embed display cases or support tapestries. It also has lower or higher walls depending on the size of the pieces exhibited along the itinerary, creating vertical openings that offer panoramic views across different sections.
In addition to the museography of the permanent exhibition halls, the joint venture that was awarded the contract, UTE Empty-Telefónica, was responsible for designing and producing display resources to complement the exhibits inside the halls, on the ramps and in the archaeological area on level -1 where the remains of medieval Madrid can be seen. It was also tasked with fitting out the non-exhibition public areas—auditorium, reading room, vestibules, shop and café—and devising a solution to give the temporary exhibition hall various possible spatial layouts and uses.