The commision architect for the design of Merida Museum of Roman Art is Rafael Moneo, a Spanish architect . He was the laureate of Pritzker Architecture Prize of 1996 and also being awarded Royal Gold Medal by RIBA.
The citation by Architectural Association chairman Mohsen Mostafavi, describes Moneo, 67, as “the closest we have to the renaissance architect – practitioner, teacher, theorist, critic … deeply knowledgeable on the arts“.
The Merida Museum of Roman Art was awarded the Manuel de la Dehesa Prize for Emblematic Public Building in Spain of the Decade 1983-1993. The site where the building stands was important archeological findings site, well in front of the archeological complex of the theatre and amphitheatre. Its location become one of the main feature of the design: how to house the collections , how to allude the visitors about the ROMAN past, and how to connects different essential past together?
The plan was finished at the end of 1980 and construction started in the middle of 1981. Rafael Moneo incorporated architecture elements which represent Roman architecture into his design. The brick vaults allowed the building merge with the ancient Roman city.
The museum composed of two main sections which is separated by the Roman road and connected by the imposing walkway which cross over the archaeological remains below. One section is the museum and warehouses, while the second section housed the theatre .
The strongest and most impressive architecture feature would be the main nave with a series of parallel bays of brick vaults. The articulation of the brick vault in addition with the height given and the light manipulated into the museum, gifted a sublime ambiences to the visitors.