The Biomuseo, the innovative biodiversity museum designed by starchitect Frank Gehry, has finally opened today in Panama after a ten-year-long construction period. The building's colorful origami-like canopies were designed in reference to the richly diverse flora and fauna of Panama, one of the most biodiverse places in the world. The high-profile museum is Gehry's first project in Latin America.
As if its multicolored facade wasn’t eye-catching enough, the Biomuseo is prominently sited on the highly visible Amador Causeway at the Pacific mouth of the Panama Canal. The 44,132-square-foot building will serve as a major civic and educational resource for the residents of Panama, as well as an attractive tourist destination. The museum houses a series of permanent exhibitions created by Bruce Mau Design and is surrounded by a new 6-acre Biodiversity Park designed by Gehry in collaboration with landscape designer Edwina von Gal.
Gehry centered the Biomuseo on a public open-air atrium covered by a sequence of multicolored metal canopies, each folded and staggered to evoke Panama’s local vernacular of tin roofs and colorful facades. The origami-like roofs also help protect the interior from the region’s wet-season downpour and wind gusts. A museum store, cafe, and a temporary exhibition space branch out from the central atrium.
The Biomuseo’s main and permanent exhibition is titled ‘Panama: Bridge of Life,’ which unfolds across eight galleries, five of which are fully installed. The galleries use a mix of digital projections, acoustics, arts, and interpretative signage to tell the story of Panama’s biodiversity and history. The exhibition narrative extends into the Biodiversity Park, which also offers educational opportunities.
Images via Biomuseo