Japanese architect Toyo Ito and his team recently celebrated the grand opening of the Museo Internacional del Barroco (MIB) in Pueblo, Mexico. With assistance from local architect Federico Bautista Alonso, Ito created a modern homage to an historic era in art, wrapping a museum that almost didn’t get built in a smooth white facade that curves here and reaches upward there, as if the building itself were dancing in celebration of its inaugural exhibitions.
The 2013 Pritzker Prize winner created a modern building from a dense collection of curved walls, tucked into an organic footprint. Inside the museum, visitors can stroll through the main hall, one adjacent hall for special and temporary exhibitions, and three additional halls for temporary special exhibits. The building also houses an auditorium, an international baroque salon, library, shop, and restaurant, in addition to management offices, a restoration workshop, and storage spaces.
The impressive architecture of the museum doesn’t have to be enough to make it a world landmark, though. Its location is already designated as a UNESCO world heritage site, spanning almost 12.5 acres in the Atlixcáyotl Territorial Reserve, in the country’s fourth largest city. As recently as 2014, the museum project was in danger of not being completed, as planners had been denied then necessary environmental permits to build on the UNESCO site. Fortunately for art lovers, project managers were able to make accommodations in the design to satisfy environmental standards, and construction was allowed. Just two years after the project seemed doomed, it officially opened to visitors in February 2016.