architect: LAR / Fernando Romero
location: Mexico City
Emerging from the ground; the Soumaya Museum will be a central attraction in a new development within metropolitan Mexico City. The 17,000 sqm building will have an exhibit area of approximately 6,000 sqm spread over 5 levels. There will be an auditorium for 350 people, library, offices, a restaurant and gathering lounge. 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. The average floor to ceiling height also varies at each level, from 4 meters to nearly 13 meters at its highest point. The subterranean structure will have five underground levels of parking below two underground levels of sto-rage and restoration labs.
The building is slightly asymmetrical in both plan and elevation. There is a total of 28 curved columns around the perimeter of the building that follow the curvature of exterior surface. At each floor level a series of seven beams connect to curve columns to form an irregular enclosed ring beam. The intention of these irregular ring beams is to provide a system that braces the curved columns to the floor and roof diaphragms retaining the curved shape of the columns under all load combinations. The modern geometry of the new Soumaya Museum emerges from a central point radiating out in non uniform angles. The façade slopes inward halfway up the building elevation and outwards to the roof line, while also rotating about its center. This geometry causes the building to angle in many directions and to self-shade large portions of its walls. The envelope is nearly all opaque with little openings to the outside while large skylights are designed within the roof structure and taking up much of the roof area.
LAR / Fernando Romero is an architect and entrepreneur that started in Mexico on the year of 2000 as LCM pursuing a new direction in the architectural practice by creating unprecedented spaces, exploring uncharted geometries, developing the use of new materials and applying current building methods, as well as re-thinking the prevailing discourses. The office is continually engaged in international competitions, either by invitation or open participation. LAR/Fernando Romero has been invited to present his work in the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, England, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Turkey, Japan, China, USA, Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, Portugal and Australia.