Museo Soumaya – architectural masterpiece by Fernado Romero
Museo Soumaya is home to a private art collection of nearly 70,000 works, ranging from the 15th to mid-20th Century, including a large collection of Auguste Rodin sculptures. The design of the museum reflects the collector’s eclectic taste, as well as his desire to create a new cultural institution for the public and the city. Rising 150 feet (46 mts) at the heart of a new cultural and commercial district, the building’s form is clad in a skin of 16,000 hexagonal mirrored-steel elements, referring the traditional, colonial ceramic-tiled building façades in Mexico City and giving the building a distinctly different appearance depending on the weather, time of day and the viewer’s vantage point.
The building covered by 16,000 hexagonal aluminum tiles. The aluminium used in the project was supplied by a company that is also owned by Carlos Slim. The new building was designed by the Mexican architect Fernando Romero, who is married to a daughter of Carlos Slim, engineered with Ove Arup and Frank Gehry, and cost $70 million to build. The museum has a narrow entrance that opens into a large white gallery. The top floor of the building is opened so that it is illuminated by sunlight during the daytime. In addition to the art galleries, the new building contains a library, restaurant, and a 350-seat auditorium.
Each of the six floors of the museum are distinctly shaped. The weight of the building is held by an exoskeleton of 28 vertical curved steel columns and seven beams encircling the structure built by a Slim-owned company that manufactures offshore oil rigs. In addition, the roof is kept stable through its suspension from a cantilever. The floors are made of high quality marble that was imported from Greece.
The new location of the Museo Soumaya was officially inaugurated on February 28, 2011 that culminated in a ceremonial ribbon cutting. Notable guests that participated in the ribbon cutting included Felipe Calderón, Gabriel García Márquez, Evelyn Robert de Rothschild, and Larry King. The new building opened to the public on March 28, 2011. Admission to the museum is now free of charge and the operating costs are covered by Slim’s fortune, which was the world’s largest at the time the new location opened.
The museum is located in a large mixed-use development, Plaza Carso in Nuevo Polanco. This project was also built by Carlos Slim and features many of his companies, as well as a luxury hotel and several apartment buildings. The entire development cost almost $800 million to build.