Snøhetta has been selected to design the El Paso Children’s Museum in the city’s Downtown Arts District. The team proposed a vaulted museum lifted of the ground, a design made to preserve public space and an interactive garden below. Snøhetta was one of three finalists alongside Koning Eizenberg Architecture and TEN Arquitectos, each invited to submit concepts for the museum. The Children’s Museum aims to welcome and engage children and families from El Paso, Ciudad Juarez, the American southwest, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora.
The museum and El Paso Community Foundation were part of the selection process which included community engagement meetings, presentations, and a public vote with the three firms. The design will support the museum’s mission to celebrate the city’s multi-cultural community and create an enriching environment for collaboration, STEAM education cooperation, and critical thinking. Elaine Molinar, Partner and Managing Director of Snøhetta, said that, "We are thrilled to be the designers of the new children’s museum, to become part of the rich architectural legacy of downtown El Paso, and to contribute to its thriving future. As a native El Pasoan, the opportunity to create something of lasting impact for the city I grew up in is extremely rewarding.”
The El Paso Children’s Museum will be located at 201 W. Main between the El Paso Museum of History and the El Paso Museum of Art within the Downtown Arts District, an area that attracts more than 1.5 million local, national, and international visitors per year. The Arts District is home to the El Paso Museum of Art, the Museum of History, the only bilingual Holocaust museum in the country, artist lofts, award-winning performing arts venues, a MiLB ballpark, a convention center, public art, festivals, green spaces, and more.
“We are thrilled to be working with Snøhetta, and their exciting concept was the unanimous choice of the public vote, our architectural panel and the board of directors of the El Paso Children’s Museum,” said Dr. Paul Kortenaar, Founding Director of the El Paso Children’s Museum. “We recognize that the concept Snøhetta produced best embodied the innovation and cooperation that the El Paso Children’s Museum hopes to inspire.”
To manage this project, the City approved the creation of a Local Government Corporation. In 2018, City Council approved additional funds to construct a world-class museum in response to private-sector stakeholders pledging to double their contribution to $20 million. City Council will serve as the board for the corporation and manage the construction of the museum.
The 60 million dollar project is currently under development with construction expected to be completed in late 2021.