Soumaya Museum / LAR + Fernando Romero


Designed by LAR + Fernando Romero, the , slated for completion in 2010, will house a diverse collection of international painting, sculpture, and object art from the 14th century to the present, including the world’s second largest collection of Rodin sculptures.  Conceived as a sculpture, the museum’s amorphous form will be a contemporary icon for Mexico City that is also a functional curatorial space.

More about the museum, including images and videos, after the break.

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Its “avant garde form” is a drastic break from art museums that typically become standard volumetric boxes.  The distinct form will allow every user to perceive it in a different way upon entering the museum.  The façade is made from translucent concrete that filters light, making the spaces feel light and open, without sacrificing the material’s structural integrity.  Once inside, the “intermediate levels are open to each other in a continuous volume, but partially separated by enclosed areas, making all spaces unique in their shape and form.”


Constructed with steel columns of varying diameters, the structure  provides a non-linear circulation route taking viewers past the nearly 20,000 square meters of exhibition space.

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The  museum will also include an auditorium, library, offices, a restaurant, and gathering lounge as well as four underground levels of parking below two underground levels of storage and restoration labs.

Current Construction State

All images courtesy of  LAR.

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To see more images.

Type: Art Museum
Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Exhibition space: 20,000 sqm (215,000 sf)
Exhibition floors: 5
Scheduled to open: end of 2010

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "Soumaya Museum / LAR + Fernando Romero" 02 Sep 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 18 Sep 2014. <>


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    If someone has the book ‘Move’ [1999] by UN Studio please check the volume ‘Techniques’ page 210.
    Strong resemblence.

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    more simple to understand when you imagine a common building with ordenated floors, but with uncommon circulations .. then you turn the axis a litle to give some distortion and tcharam! I think that is a really creative project, LAR + Fernando Homero have a lot of really nice projects.. congrats!

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    beautiful. very well done.

    I think too often museums that are more sculptural, while interesting and enjoyable to walk through, tend to loose usable interior gallery space. Like the Hamilton Building at the Denver Art Museum. It’s an amazing building, but if you are going for the art, you come away wishing there was more in a building that size. And the space is there, it’s just unusable. This looks very well planned out while still keeping an artistic and engaging sculptural form and interior space.

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    No mention of context. Another “cool” shape with no relation to its site, just someone’s screen dream with seductive graphics to win over the image hungry crowd. Why no site info?

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      I live in México City. The context around the site is diverse, from late 30s and 50s modern residential typologies to high end corporate buildings. The best way to dialogue with this context is by applying a disasociation of orthogonality via an informal structure which enhances (by contrast) the quality of the neighborhood and inmediate landscape. The form seems to be practically animated by the surrounding information: highways, bridges, streets, houses, buildings, cars, trains, people… a beautiful chaos… México City.

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        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      Look at the construction photo. You can see it’s next to a busy road, maybe a highway. Should have looked like a parking garage, right?

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        Well… some people (architects) think that working with context means being literal, mimic or sterile. In terms of typology, what have really stood out in this city are organic forms like Felix Candela’s, Ramirez Vazquez, Ernesto Gómez Gallardo, Javier Senosiain, Marco Aldaco, etc.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Beautiful form, no question. I’ll be curious to see this as a built work.

    I’m a bit confused as to why only animations with the steel structure and not the skin? The animations suggest a spatial experience, and a relationship with the sky and horizon. However this project says the skin is translucent concrete, and it seems the experience of the gallery spaces will be quite different than the animations.

    I hope there is a cool void in the middle of this, not just the ground floor lobby. If not I would think it’s a bit of a lost opportunity.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I’m not entirely certain I’m in love with this building, it’s nice enough looking I guess but it seems to really just be two free form lofted curves. Looks like they developed the structure by just running vertical contours and triangulating between each member.

    I’d be more interested to see some kind of diagram explaining the development of the floor plates along with a more clear circulation diagram. I think the circulation concept is interesting but it doesn’t read, to me at least, in these drawings. It could be a great project but as it is it is difficult to tell, the diagrams are too unclear and aren’t really telling me anything I can’t tell just by looking at the thing.

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      Yes, perhaps it looks like a simple series of Rhino commands, still I do not think that architecture should be complex a priori, algorithmic operations or simple additions and substractions are valid in the same degree as a building parting from a croissant sketch.

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        i wholly agree and, to qualify my earlier statement, I’m not necessarily opposed to the project formally I’m more interested in what drove the specific choice of geometry. I’m not advocating for self rationalizing math architecture by any means but I’m also not advocating for simply using the embedded tools in Rhino, or any other 3d modeler, to draw a similarly sexy, and in my opinion an equally meaningless, formal object. The circulation concept and floor plates seem to hint at more depth to the design but I can’t really tell what those hints are leading to based on the diagrams included.

        I know that hot air rises just as I know how to cross brace structural ribbing, what I don’t know is why this building is the way that it is. I would be interested to see a generative concept rather than the same old diagrams that seem to be associated with every project these days.

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        Hector you are clueless. Please tell me you don’t practice architecture in Mexico…

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Derivation of a nuclear reactor notwithstanding, I think the form is both unique and iconic. And assuming the exterior is permeable, it should supply an attractive mix of silhouettes of varying depth and color throughout the day and into the night.

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    Please… give more details of “The façade made out of translucent concrete” we want to know how it´s fixed to the main structure and how it looks from the inside out. Thanks

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    man i dont know . i cant see it as a good building.. since now it is getting built i hope they use good materials and make it look good.

  10. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    not exactly “pretty”, a gaint vase… very impractical for the environment. floor plates far too deep.

  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    it turned out to be a glorified sports arena high hopes failed…

    “temporary structure”

    its good for my house but not for the art.

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    I live in Mexico City, and I think its a shame of a building, a Museum with NO natural light at all. The entrance its small and claustrophobic just to go inside and feel this huge lobby completely empty. The museum interior and design on how the art its shown its terrible, I love to go to museums but the experience after visiting it, its very disappointing.

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