Museo Soumaya by FR-EE Fernando Romero Enterprise – A Museum of Eclecict Art …..
In a previous entry about Mexico City we looked at how Ensemble studio approached traditional Latin American heritage. While designing their Cervantes Theatre, they sought to achieve a wow effect on the principle of contrast and also by looking at the exterior-interior relationships like an inverted ancient pyramid.
Now let us broaden our scope of vision and have a closer look at Mexico City’s cityscape. Another part of it is the newly built Museo Soumaya that houses a carefully selected eclectic collection of artworks from the period between 15th and 20th century. It is its architectural form, texture and conceptualisation that create a distinctive identity for the city’s predominant1940’s industrial area. And similarly to Ensemble studio’s ‘Dovela’ (‘Keystone’) structure, here Fernando Romero has managed to apply the simplest rule of contrast – distinctiveness, in providing Mexico City with yet another iconic landmark.
The Museo Soumaya and its exhibition function now becomes a natural catalyst for new cultural development opportunities since it is positioned in the heart of a real estate area. Its distinctiveness is expressed through the making of an exterior skin comprised of 16, 000 mirrored steel hexagon pieces. In further detail, the expressiveness is enhanced through the sculptural shaping of the building’s volume with a total of 28 curved columns.
From an interior aspect, a system of 7 rings stabilizes the structure making cantilevering on each level possible. The space is hence articulated through a continuous promenade circulating in a helical tract that follows the path of the 7 cantilevered rings. This spatial effect is meant to visually guide visitors to the top floor – a level of sculpture exhibits and natural light.
The Museo Soumaya displays a vast collection of artefacts of great importance including the largest private collection of Auguste Rodin’s sculptures and also works by Van Gogh, Matisse, Monet and Salvador Dalí. Being the new home of some of the most notable Impressionists and Surrealists, the Museo Soumaya is a visual example of how architecture develops into a new phase where gravity is defied, walls are curved, levels are cantilevered, circulation is therefore more free; and last but not least – letting natural light in the space is becoming a key essential for the best of presentation of art on display.
Architects: FR-EE / Fernando Romero Enterprise
Location: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 303, Ampliación Granada, Miguel Hidalgo, 11529 Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico
Architect in Charge: Fernando Romero, Mauricio Ceballos
Area: 17000.0 sqm
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Rafael Gamo, Adam Weisman, Raul Soria
By Yoana Chepisheva