The Museo Reina Sofia opened its doors in 1986 as an exhibition hall and arts center. The central building of the museum is the former Madrid General Hospital whose architectural foundations date back to the 16th century under Philip II. The structure took on its present form in the 18th century, under Carlos III and the architect José de Hermosilla and his successor, Francesco Sabatini. The hospital closed its doors in 1969 but was saved from demolition by a 1977 decree protecting it as a historical and artistic monument. Antonio Fernandez Alba began the restoration of the building in 1980, and in 1986 the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia opened to the public, with the ground floor and first floor of the former hospital as temporary exhibition spaces.
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