Starchitect Frank Gehry is getting ready for the grand opening of his crazy looking Biomuseo in Panama City. Sited on the highly visible Amador Causeway at the entrance of the Panama Canal, the biodiversity and natural history museum has been under construction for almost ten years. Designed to showcase the rich and diverse flora and fauna of the region, the fragmented 43,000 square foot museum will mark Gehry's first built work in Latin America.
Designed in Gehry’s famous deconstructive aesthetic, the steel and concrete Biomuseo resembles a stack of colorful and folded origami canopies. The government hopes that the iconic building will drive tourist revenue and become a point of pride in Panama, which lacks architectural icons. Since its groundbreaking in 2005, however, the museum has suffered a series of fundraising and construction setbacks with $95 million spent thus far.
When completed, the museum will boast a central open-air atrium that will lead to eight exhibition galleries, the majority of which will be created by Bruce Mau Design. A botanical garden by landscape designer Edwina von Gal will cover the museum grounds. To capture Panama’s vibrant culture, the museum’s geometric mass is painted in festive colors atop an exposed steel structure. The folded, staggered canopies help protect the interior from rain and allow for cross-ventilation. The Biomuseo’s opening date is expected to coincide with the upcoming May presidential election.
Images via © Victoria Murillo of istmophoto.com