Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Museum of Environmental Sciences in Western Mexico by MET Studio
June 21st, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Experiential designers MET Studio have been appointed to design three out of the total of six galleries foran exciting, new-build, 14,000 sq m museum in Western Mexico, with a working title of Museo de CienciasAmbientales (Museum of Environmental Sciences) or MCA. The ambitious new museumis set to form part of a major new cultural quarter, located close to the University of Guadalajara (Universidad de Guadalajara), and will take the form of an engagement centre looking at the future sustainability of Western Mexico and its relationship with the metropolitan city of Guadalajara.
Two years prior to the design commission,MET Studiowas also chosen to create the master plan for the museum,in a joint-venture with Academy Studios. MET Studio ChairmanAlex McCuaig was subsequently invited to be one of the five judges (and one of only two from Europe, alongside LluisHortet, President of the Mies van der Rohe Architecture Award) for the architectural competition to appoint the project’s architects. Snøhettafrom New York/Oslo was subsequently appointed,based on the practice’s outstanding vision for the new landmark sustainable building. The project is set to break ground in 2015 and Thinc, also from New York, has now been invited to jointhe highly international team to design the three remaining galleries.
The concept for the project is far greater than the building itself. Its inspiring leader – internationally-distinguished conservationist Eduardo Santana-Castellón – aims to found a facility which is co-created by the University in partnership with the city’s young, urban population, whose increased awareness and appreciation of the environment is a key project aim. The new facility anticipates engaging with up to half a million visitors a year.
‘The audience for the project is very much the young people of the region who will inherit the results of today’s and tomorrow’s environmental decisions and who will be encouraged to engage with these important issues’, commented MET Studio Design Director Peter Karn. ‘Our design very much embraces this by incorporating a contemporary interpretation of indigenous styles and bringing a social aspect to the gallery spaces and interactives.’
MET Studio has partnered with Bob Bloomfield OBE, former Head of Exhibit and Innovation and Special Projects at London’s Natural History Museum, to develop the central themes around people and sustainability for its new galleries.
Guadalajara has almost doubled its population since 1980 and, like many cities in emerging nations, faces significant challenges for the health, wealth and wellbeing of its citizens as part of a future which needs to be sustainable. The project aims to help people explore, understand and engage with the interconnectedness of the city with the surrounding environment, on which it depends for its resources and, ultimately, its survival.
The city lies in a unique region of confluences; at the intersection of the geological collision zone between the Pacific, Caribbean and North American tectonic plates and at the natural dividing line and meeting of the ecologies of North and South America. The area is rich in both natural resources and minerals, but the livelihoods it offers for the burgeoning city population need to be realistic and long-term. The project will ask what lessons can be learnt now and from the past to ensure the future relationship between the city and the region is healthy, sustainable, good for people and for the environment.
Alex McCuaig commented: ‘We are delighted with this appointment and with the opportunity to make a contribution to a world-class centre for the furtherment of environmental sciences. We look forward to working both with our client and with such a great international architectural and design team on this ground-breaking project.’
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Tags: Western Mexico