Frank Gehry, the architect known for his twisting metal buildings, is nearing completion on his first project in Latin America. The Museum of Biodiversity, located in Panama, is set to provide education about biodiversity in an otherworldly structure which will include gardens and biospheres designed by Bruce Mau Design in conjunction with scientists from the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Panama.
The Biomuseum is located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal and will highlight the extreme diversity of the Panamanian environment and its importance in the world’s environment. At the heart of this is the emergence of the Isthmus of Panama, which changed the face of global biodiversity three million years ago. Panama is uniquely positioned as the center of this global change, which created a land bridge between two continents, created the Gulf Stream and sent life in entirely new directions, making it an ideal home for Biodiversity education.
Of course, because it is a Gehry project, the building doesn’t look like a traditional museum; rather, it comprises of bright colors, shocking angles and playful design to encourage interaction. According to Bruce Mau Design, the museum “inverts the typical museum visitor’s experience. Instead of pushing information, the museum allows visitors to be pulled into understanding as they follow a thematic path. The exhibits go beyond the mere illustration of ideas to become functional models whose effects bridge art and science.”
The museum is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution, the University of Panama, Gehry Partners and Bruce Mau Design.The museum visitor center is currently open from 12:00 – 5:00pm on Saturday and Sunday, where visitors can view models and galleries of the final designs. Once open, the museum will have multiple exhibits, including the Gallery of Biodiversity, Panamarama and The Web of Life.
Lead Image via biomuseo on Flickr, by Darién Montañez