The new seat of the National Museum of Underwater Archaeology. ARQUA, in a building designed by the winner of the National Architecture Award, Guillermo Vázquez-Consuegra, whose advanced design earned its exhibition at the MOMA New York, is a project with a long history which began in the late 1990s.
The first stone was laid on 23 January 2002. Since then the project has gone through various changes. Adapting and substantially improving the project meant greater specificity as to the functions of the museum, which can now be seen as a space dedicated to the conservation, research, exhibition and promotion of Spain's Underwater Cultural Heritage.
The new building is a complex of over some 6,000 m2 with a Permanent Exhibition room of 1,600 m2 and an extraordinary Temporary Exhibition Room of 500 m2. Nearly 1,000 m2 are dedicated to the conservation of the rich and varied holdings of the centre, with a large room dedicated to amphorae, an exceptional compact room and a gallery where the Reserve Collections not on show elsewhere will be displayed. It is also equipped to house the various documentary, photographic and planimetric archives and a modern library on two floors with indirect natural light.
The museum has an important area dedicated to the Promotion Department, with classrooms ready to hold the scheduled workshops and activities. Still in the area of education and the dissemination of scientific knowledge, the museum has an Auditorium, equipped with the latest technology, making it a multipurpose space for holding all types of events.
Similarly, the museum has other spaces housing services such as the cafe-restaurant, shop, and areas intended to make the museum not just a place for exhibitions, but for cultural interchange.