Snøhetta was given an early Christmas present earlier this month when they were selected to design the new Museum of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guadalajara. Beating out esteemed competitors Shigeru Ban, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Smiljan Radic, and Mauricio Rocha, the New York office of the Norwegian firm will tackle the new project quickly with construction expected to start in early 2011. Organic shapes, courtyards, occuli, and gardens will form the shape of the museum situated along the University’s Centro Cultural Universitario (CCU), a cultural district next to the main campus.
The museum will act as a link between the new library and auditorium buildings using gardens, paths and landscaping to bridge the gap between the two important campus facilities. The CCU is situated between the main campus and what will eventually be a wilderness preserve for the city of Guadalajara, Mexico’s second most populous city. Assisting Snøhetta on the project is ARUP, who will tackle structural MEP, sustainability, acoustics, and theater planning.
Snøhetta marries traditional methods of Spanish colonial planning with the natural phenomena found in the sunken pools and ravines of Jalisco to come up with the architectural form of the new museum. The compact and low form will maintain the views of the library and auditorium buildings merging into the campus landscape as a bridge between the locales. Large open air courtyards and gardens carve out space in the museum encouraging natural light and ventilation in the space.
As with most projects from Snøhetta and ARUP, we can expect great achievements in terms of sustainability and efficient design. Construction is expected to begin in early 2011 with a total budget of $35 million.