El Capricho is a palace with an annexed garden that is isolated by surrounding walls, designed as a private universe, a small sample of the outer world. Departing from this concept, our proposal is developed as an Atlas to read the setting from a historiographic, technical and experiential point of view. It activates and updates the conceptual frame of ‘The Age of Enlightenment’ in order to create a device for learning and knowing.
‘Make present with certainty, those virtues that are given by nature’. As the quote from Ventura Aguado, Osuna’s Duchess protected poet, we propose to find ‘El Capricho’ as a sensitive and intellectual experience linked to the garden and amplified inside the Palace. The museum needs to be extended to the whole site, as a built-in nature, a measurable nature, that is fabricated, inhabited and enjoyed.
Inside El Capricho we find the ‘enlightened ways to be in the world’, and these are used as a strategy for the museum exhibition. Through a technical, scientific, historical and artistic lecture of the complex, the place is transformed into an experience lab, where landscape research and creativity is encouraged. Not only garden design will be under research, living and experiencing the garden will be part of the research as well. The Enlightment thought that science and technology would be tools for better knowledge, organization and governance of the world, and also for enjoying leisure. This project updates these idealist thinking, working with its contradictions and polemics from the actual postcolonial vision, enabling a discussion about the remaining ideas that still live on today’s society.
Four ‘Enlightened’ concepts are core elements on the proposal: technology, knowledge, collections and leisure. Using these we will end into a personal ‘urbanism’ and specific occupation rules. Four maps activate four different lines of palace-garden interaction. Artists, scientists, researchers and visitors will find settled formats for information and experience exchanges: This Atlas is alive and sensitive, it will be the place to find better understanding of each other as inheritors of ‘The age of Enlightenment’.