The building the MNA has occupied since its beginnings was completely funded by its founder, Doctor Pedro González Velasco, and built between 1873 and 1875.
The doctor commissioned the work to one of the most illustrious architects of late 19th-century Madrid, Francisco de Cubas, the Marquis of Cubas and also a member of parliament, a senator and even the capital’s mayor, thought just for 25 days! Among many other unique buildings in the city, he also designed the first phase of the Almudena Cathedral, the Church of Santa Cruz and a large number of mansions in the Recoletos area and the Salamanca District, to the point where he was christened the “architect of the Madrid aristocracy”.
The museum was the first building constructed south of the wall of the gardens of the Palacio del Buen Retiro - which Calle Alfonso XII still cuts through - and close to the Olivar de Atocha, next to the former road to the sanctuary, then the walls of Nuestra Señora de Atocha, and at the foot of the Cerrillo de San Blas, upon which the Royal Astronomical Observatory was built. There was no Calle Granada - later Alfonso XII- nor the Palacio de Fomento (today the Ministry of Agriculture), nor Atocha Station – just a train stop - nor these residential, office and hotel buildings which surround it and make it appear smaller than it is.