Organic aluminium volume to house extensive art collection in Mexico City
Opened to the public on 29th March this year, the Museo Soumaya is a privately-owned art museum in Mexico City run by the Carlos Slim Foundation. The freeform institution has been designed by FREE Fernando Romero EnterprisE and offers 60,000 sq ft of prime exhibition space in a former industrial zone.
Described by Raymund Ryan, Curator at The Heinz Architectural Center as ‘an extraordinary structure, rising up from the Earth’s crust as a multi-dimensional icon’, Museo Soumaya is an organic volume whose opaque exterior is formed from an immense number of hexagonal aluminium modules that optimise the preservation and durability of the structure.
Due to the repetitive nature of these modules, the building has been compared to the Benoy-designed Bullring in Birmingham, UK whose chainmail-effect facade has become iconic in the commercial sector.
The majority of the 6,200 artworks housed within the building are European pieces from the 15th to the 20th century, with an additional range of Mexican artworks, religious relics and historical artefacts. These features will be hung over six floors in a continuous exhibition space, leading to a cantilevering top level which is flooded with natural light. Elsewhere in the volume is a 350-seat auditorium, a library, offices, a restaurant, a gift shop and a multi-purpose gathering lounge.
FREE commented: “From the outside, the building is an organic and asymmetrical shape that is perceived differently by each visitor while reflecting the diversity of the collection on the inside. Its avant-garde morphology and typology define a new paradigm in the history of Mexican and international architecture.”