Illa del Rei

Dating of the building: 18th century.

Applicant: Fundació de l’Hospital de l’Illa del Rei and Hauser&Wirth Menorca.

Reason for the award :

The project to rehabilitate the Illa del Rei represents an impressive level of citizens’ engagement and commitment to the conservation of heritage. The high-quality restoration was implemented with full respect for the landscape in which it is found, with the original garden and the safeguarding of native plants and species carefully considered. Ecological sustainability was also ensured by implementing a combination of traditional and contemporary technologies to reuse water.

The rehabilitation of Illa del Rei is the result of a fruitful collaboration between a foundation established by local volunteers, who turned the naval hospital built in 1711 into a museum, and Hauser&Wirth, which restored and sensitively repurposed the Langara outbuildings.

Illa del Rei is an island in the port of Mahon (Menorca). Its main cultural landmark is a naval hospital founded by the English navy in 1711. After the hospital fell into disuse in 1964, it was abandoned and the buildings greatly deteriorated. The restoration and revitalisation of Illa del Rei are the result of a fruitful collaboration between Fundació de l’Hospital de l’Illa del Rei, established in 2004 by local volunteers, who restored the naval hospital and turned it into a museum, and the Swiss modern and contemporary art gallery Hauser & Wirth, which joined them to restore and sensitively repurpose the Langara outbuildings as an art space. Whereas Hauser & Wirth used their own resources for the restoration, the Fundació received funding from individuals, authorities and organisations.

The Fundació’s initiative is an impressive example of civic engagement. Hundreds of volunteers worked to clear invasive vegetation and debris and then raised funds and awareness to finally restore the hospital using traditional techniques and materials.

In 2021, Hauser & Wirth Menorca was opened, comprising an exhibition space for contemporary art, an outdoor sculpture trail, and a garden. With educational, sustainability and conservation values at its core, the art centre runs a rich educational programme together with local organisations.

www.islahospitalmenorca.org

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