The Centro Botín is an arts centre designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, in co-authorship with Luis Vidal. It is located in a privileged part of Santander and uses a broader urban intervention to integrate the city centre and the historic Pereda Gardens with the bay. The building has a total built-up area spanning 8,739 m², which is made up of two blocks, connected by a structure of squares and the walkways known as "the pachinko". The west block is dedicated to art, with two exhibition rooms measuring a total of 2,500 m2; and the east block is for cultural and educational activities, boasting an auditorium for 300 people, classrooms, work spaces, and a rooftop terrace to enjoy the breathtaking views of the city and its bay.
Research, training and dissemination are the three main missions of the Centro Botín and they are developed through the Fine Arts and Training programmes. The Foundation Marcelino Botín was created in 1964 by Marcelino Botín Sanz de Sautuola and his wife, Carmen Yllera, to promote social development in Cantabria. Now the foundation operates all over Spain and Latin America.
The Foundation Botín art collection is a reflection of its Visual Arts Programme and its trajectory over more than forty years. Specialising in contemporary art, it contains works in a variety of media: painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, video and installation, etc. Since 1993, the Collection, which continues to grow year on year, has contained works by directors of the Villa Iris Arts Workshop, established international artists such as Miroslaw Balka, Tacita Dean, Carlos Garaicoa, Mona Hatoum, Joan Jonas, Jannis Kounellis, Julie Mehretu, Antoni Muntadas and Juan Uslé; as well as works by artists who have been awarded Fundación Botín Arts Scholarships.