Architects: Gehry Partners
- Area: 4100 m²
- Year: 2014
Manufacturers: Zone Display Cases, Comex
- Design Partner: Frank Gehry
- Project Architect: Bill Childers
- Project Designer: Anand Devarajan, Anand Devarajan
- Architect In Charge: Frank Gehry
- Design Team: Elmer Barco, Danelle Briscoe, Vartan Chalikian, Tina Chee, Denise Disney, Sam Gehry, Jose Gonzalez, Kerenza Harris, Jeremy Leman, Chris Mercier, George Metzger, Nathaniel Nacionales, Scott Natvig, Michael O’Boyle, Markus Sohst, Armando Solano
- Exhibition Design: Bruce Mau Design
- Country: Panama
Text description provided by the architects. The project comprises three main elements: the museum building, the exhibition design and the surrounding park.
At the heart of the project is a public outdoor atrium covered by colorful metal canopies designed to protect visitors from frequent wind-driven rains. Surrounding the central atrium are unticketed public areas, including the museum store, a café and a temporary exhibition space, as well as the two main ticketed exhibition wings of the building. The atrium level, elevated one floor above grade, allows for extended views to the Canal and city, in addition to protecting the outdoor exhibition space below, which connects the two exhibition wings.
The exhibition design, conceived collaboratively with Bruce Mau Design, educates visitors about the emergence of the Isthmus of Panamá and its role in shaping our natural environment. Inside the eight galleries are stories that introduce visitors to the concept of biodiversity, immerse them in the environments of Panamá and describe the geological and natural history. The exhibitions also convey how these natural forces have affected humans and the importance of the interconnectivity of life to the survival of all plant and animal species.
The Park of Biodiversity expands the exhibition narrative into the surrounding landscape. Located here and there around the park are education stations that augment the visitor’s experience of the museum by illustrating real-life interaction between local plant and animal species. Because of the civic nature of the museum’s exterior atrium, the park is designed as a publicly accessible space for local residents.