FR-EE’s design for the 17,000 m2/180,000 ft2 Soumaya Museum pays tribute to its eclectic art collection of nearly 70 000 objects from 15th to mid-20th century, including the world’s largest private collection of Auguste Rodin sculptures. The 150 feet tall Soumaya Museum rises at the heart of the new real estate development Plaza Carso in Polanco, a vibrant and cosmopolitan neighborhood in Mexico City. The museum’s distinct shape and strong presence, creates an identity for the 1940ies ex-industrial area and serves as a catalyst for further cultural development, including a theatre by Anton Garcia-Abril and the contemporary Jumex art museum by David Chipperfield.
The surrounding public space is activated through a grand staircase leading to the museum entrance, which serves as an informal plaza for the visitors and locals from the adjacent Carso complex. A skin of 16 000 hexagonal tiles of mirrored steel, references the traditional colonial ceramic-tiled building facades and gives the museum a diverse appearance depending on the weather and the viewer’s vantage point, while optimizing the preservation and durability of the entire building.
Inside, the visitors are first met by Rodin’s The Thinker in a generous white vestibule encouraging guests to explore the museum. Walking up the continuous promenade which spirals through the museum’s six levels, guests will find masterpieces by Van Gogh, Matisse, Monet and Dali among others. The ramp leads to the top floor exhibition hall with a sculpture landscape graciously complimented by the natural light.