Museo Tamayo

by | 13. Jul 2012

Cultural | Feature

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Image courtesy BIG & Michel Rojkind

Set upon a steep hillside overlooking Mexico City, the New Tamayo Museum will serve as a nucleus of education and culture, locally, regionally, and internationally.

This is a very direct, strong and symbolic project named after the Oaxacan born artist Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991). The shape, deriving from the client’s preliminary studies that defined the optimal functionality, takes advantage of the steep terrain, allowing the galleries to shade the more social programs below.

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Image courtesy BIG & Michel Rojkind

Exterior and interior spaces overlap to provide the best environment and optimal climatic performance for each function. The permeable brick shading facade eliminates or reduces the need for AC and combines good daylight with no sunshine and plenty of natural ventilation.

Although, it will be the museums symbolic provocation of its form and content that will attract its visitors, once there, they will discover that it’s design, though modest, is intelligently and sustainably planned.

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Image courtesy BIG & Michel Rojkind

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Image courtesy BIG & Michel Rojkind

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Image courtesy BIG & Michel Rojkind

Understanding that contemporary art spaces pretend to be more important than the art they contain, our proposal arises from the scheme of requirements previously studied by our clients, assuring maximum functionality in each area while focusing on the development of art projects. By enhancing the program and understanding the topography, a balance between form, function and visual impact for this important space was created. Once the functional part was improved, we could give attention to details that make the space not only a culture enclosure, but also a building that understands its surroundings to distinguish itself and transform from a simple form to a powerful symbol, controversial, but ideal to lodge this new space.
/Michel Rojkind, Rojkind Arquitectos

The main concept of the Museo Tamayo extension was an “Opened Box,” a box that unfolds, opens and invites the visitors inside. Package, restoration and storage will serve as additional cultural spaces for visitors to understand the stages that an art piece goes through in order to get to its specific destination.

When you ask contemporary artists what kind of space they would prefer to exhibit their work in – they almost always describe old industrial warehouses or loft spaces. It is the kind of space where they have their studios, but most importantly the rough structures, with large spans and generous ceiling heights provides them with the maximum freedom of expression. On the other hand the museum director or the mayor might want an icon to attract visitors which means that museum design often is caught in a dilemma between the artist’s demand for functional simplicity and the museum’s (and architect’s) desire to create a landmark. The cantilevering cross is the literal materialization of the cruciform functional diagram – devoid of any artistic interpretation. Museo Tamayo extention becomes the embodiment of pure function and pure symbol at the same time.
/Bjarke Ingels, BIG Partner-in-Charge

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Drawing courtesy BIG & Michel RojkindUnfolding the Box

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Drawing courtesy BIG & Michel RojkindStructure
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Photo courtesy BIG & Michel RojkindModel

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Drawing courtesy BIG & Michel RojkindLobby Level Plan