Lonely Planet Writer

A multi-million euro levitating art gallery has opened by the waterfront in Santander

The stunning Centro Botín art gallery has been officially opened by the waterfront in Santander in Spain by King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain. Built at a cost of €80 million, it will be a permanent home for the art and educational programmes of cultural foundation, Fundación Botín, and has been designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Renzo Piano.

The Centro Botín art gallery opens by the waterfront in Santander. Image: Enrico Cano
The Centro Botín art gallery opens by the waterfront in Santander. Image: Enrico Cano

The new gallery has opened after a three-year delay, and it is poised to become a major art-world destination. Fundación Botín was founded in 1964 and it has been assembling a permanent art collection for over two decades.

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain opening Centro Botín. Image: Centre Botín
King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain opening Centro Botín. Image: Centre Botín

The 10,285-square-metre Centro Botín is located on Santander’s waterfront, and is raised above the ground. It frames spectacular views of Santander and the bay, and is covered with a unique surface of 270,000 ceramic discs that reflect the changing colours of the sea and sky.

The Centro Botín art gallery was designed by Renzo Piano. Image: Belen de Benito
The Centro Botín art gallery was designed by Renzo Piano. Image: Belen de Benito

The building includes exhibition galleries, a 300-seat auditorium, classrooms, work spaces, and an informal restaurant called El Muelle, created by two-Michelin star chef Jesús Sánchez. There is also a shop and a rooftop terrace offering a new vantage point overlooking the city and the bay.

The Centro Botín art gallery opens by the waterfront in Santander. Image: Enrico Cano
The Centro Botín art gallery opens by the waterfront in Santander. Image: Enrico Cano

Centro Botín is set in the historic Pereda Gardens, which has been completely restored and extended in a project led by landscape designer Fernando Caruncho in collaboration with Renzo Piano Building Workshop. The 9884-acre gardens are now doubled in size, providing a beautiful new public space, a setting for public art, and linking the city centre with the waterfront.

The Centro Botín art gallery opens by the waterfront in Santander. Image: Enrico Cano
The Centro Botín art gallery opens by the waterfront in Santander. Image: Enrico Cano

Centro Botín has opened with three major exhibitions, Carsten Höller, Goya, and works from the permanent collection of Fundación Botín. The opening has also been marked by the inauguration of a permanent sculpture entitled Desde lo subterráneo by Cristina Iglesias, constructed in stone and steel and flowing water.

For further information on Centro Botín, see here.