University Museum for Contemporary Art – MUAC

108 | Mexico City

architect: Teodoro Gonzáles de León

location: Mexico City

year: 2008

The Museum is located to one side of a new plaza which serves as an entrance to the Cultural Center of the University. Slanted at an angle of 45º, the façade forms a portico leading to the Concert Hall and theaters of the Cultural Center. The double-height lobby cuts across the building, connecting the plaza with the National Library, on the northern side of the complex. Thus, the plaza and the Museum structure the relationships between the different Cultural Center buildings. The Museum encompasses two levels. On the same plane as the plaza, the exhibition rooms occupy the upper level, which also accommodates the reception desk, the store and bookshop, as well as educational areas. There are fourteen exhibition rooms of various sizes and heights, distributed among 4 sections, each one of which functions as a small museum. Three indoor paths, illuminated by natural light coming from three patios and terraces interconnect them.
They all share the same 12 metres width module, but are different in length, while their height is either 6, 9 or 12m. These dimensions were carefully chosen after visiting 35 contemporary art museums and galleries around the world. The play of curtains allows for the integration of the four rooms on the main façade with the space of the plaza – which is also an exhibition space.
The lower level, partly excavated into the site’s volcanic rock, houses a mediatheque, a conference room, a 300 seat auditorium-theater, a cafeteria and a restaurant, administration offices and storerooms for permanent and temporary collections, as well as museology, restoration and general service offices.
Lighting design
All rooms feature natural light flowing in from the ceiling, where it is filtered by way of a double reflection which makes for an enveloping, uniform and shadowless illumination highly acclaimed by curators and museologists. The ceiling space holds the lighting and temperature systems as well as a series of operable curtains meant to allow for the complete darkening of the exhibition area. A full scale (12x6x6m) model was built in order to test and evaluate the system. While they provide all the flexibility needed by museologists, and curators, the rooms are also designed so as to stimulate the creativity of the artists. Such is the double objective a museum for contemporary art is meant to achieve.
The architectural volumes interact with the surroundings: towards the plaza, the slanted great glass portico; towards the east, a curved frontage dialogs with the Concert Hall’s jagged angularity, and towards the west, overlooking the entrance avenue, a cluster of square and rectangular prisms reaching to different heights herald the all white concrete Museum.

Teodoro González de León was born in Mexico City, on May 29, 1926. From 1942 to 1947 he studies architecture at the old Academia de San Carlos (UNAM). In 1947 the French Government grants him a scholarship and he works at Le Corbusier’s studio for 18 months. During that time, he is part of the teams in charge of the ”Unité d’ Habitation Marseille”, and the ”L’Usine Duval” at Saint Dié. He has been continuously active, since the late forties, when he returns to Mexico, first in the urban development and public housing fields, and latter in the design of large public and private buildings. Mr. González de León is to be credited, along with Abraham Zabludovsky, for the Infonavit headquarters, the Colegio de México, the Rufino Tamayo Museum, the National Pedagogical University, the extension of Banamex headquarters, and the renovation of the National Auditorium. In collaboration with Abraham Zabludovsky and Francisco Serrano, he also designed the Mexican Embassy in Brazil. Later on, he collaborated with Francisco Serrano on the Public Library and the Administrative Center of the State of Tabasco.

area 108 – Mexico City

          presentazione/introduction Città del Messico abitare una conurbazione di 25.000.000 di abitanti text by Marco Casamonti editoriale/editorial la città caleidoscopica text by Marella Santangelo saggi/essays Dust…

La città caleidoscopica

Kaleidoscopic City When my dream finally came true and I was able to visit Mexico City for the first time, in August 2006, the city was in the hands of…

Dust in the Wind

Mexico City is a dusty city. Or, better, Mexico City is a windy and sometimes dry city and, therefore, a dusty city. Dust, in Mexico, is an index – in…

L‘identità nella dimensione

Marella Santangelo: What town planning instruments are currently used in Mexico City, and what plans and programs do you adopt? Felipe Leal: A number of planning instruments are used, as…

Mexico City: a city of outsides

For some time now Mexico City has existed in the global imaginary as one of the largest cities in the world; a paradigm of urbanization in the 20th century and…

Casa Negra

During the late 90´s the growth of suburbial areas of Mexico City was restricted as a part of Bando 2 program, which intended to slow down the spreading of the…

Falcon Headquarters

The company, Corporativo Falcon, dedicated to instruments and medical equipment, required a new headquarters building in Mexico City. The premise, besides the need of greater area and a space designed…

Tecnoparque

The intention of the project is to create a high-technology office campus to provide space for call centers, service centers and data centers; with world-class specifications. The campus will hold…

Ave Fenix Fire Station

English writer Thomas Quincy talked in his classic (Confessions of an English opium-eater) of the pleasure that, after making sure all possible victims and risk were absent, a burning building…

Meditation House

This is a project with very strong emotional implications. We had to understand the mood of the user, who at such this moment would not care very much for an…

José Vasconcelos Public Library

The project integrates the public library with a botanical garden. A 250 meter steel, concrete and glass structure surrounded by greenery and water. The design is based in four fundamental…

Terminal 2

In response to the increasing number of passengers in Terminal 1 of the Mexico City international Airport, the federal government set up a Metropolitan System of airports with the objective…

House of the Alley

Finishing off a alley of a popular colony in the skirts of the Ajusco, the house of three plants tries to integrate itself to the context with a material of…

Nestlé Chocolate Museum

While Nestlé’s chocolate Factory in Mexico City (located in Paseo Tollocan near Toluca) was in need of an inner pathway for visitors to witness the production of their favorite chocolates,…

Ozuluama House

“La Condesa” a Trendy Mexico City neighborhood of engaging contrasts, has exploded remarkably in the last few years. Home not only to new restaurants, bars, galleries and cafes but also…

Estudio Explanada

This artist’s studio is located in a residential area in the west corner of Mexico City, over a 20m x 40m site. The project has an underground parking space and…

Soumaya Museum

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…

El Pedregal de San Angel

Luis Barragan, House at Avenida de las Fuentes 12, Jardines del Pedregal, Mexico City, 1949-50. Photo Armando Salas Portugal © Barragan Foundation, Switzerland / ProLitteris / SIAE A sea of…

Post Your Thoughts