About 10 years ago, the city of St. Petersburg, Florida started talking about tearing down one of its most well-known piece of architecture: a 1970s-era, inverted pyramid at the end of a city pier. The city would then replace that pier head with a more modern, but still architecturally significant, statement. So, a few years back, a design competition was launched, and it resulted in some of the most ambitious designs we’ve ever seen from a competition like this.
With Art Basel underway, not-quite-yet-starchitect Fernando Romero has unveiled new plans for what could become Miami‘s next architectural icon: the Latin American Art Museum (LAAM). That’s right, this 90,000 square foot, cantilevering structure could overshadow the nearby works of his higher-profile peers like Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and Lord Norman Foster. And Jeanne Gang and Herzog & de Meuron. And also Bjarke Ingels and Enrique Norten, because Romero’s—sorry, and Richard Meier and Rem Koolhaas. Okay, that has to be everyone. All starchitects have been accounted for. Where were we? Right, the Latin American Art Museum.
Mexico City’s new Museo Soumaya (named after the deceased wife of Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire who owns the museum) was finally unveiled to the public late last month. The museum houses 60,000-square-feet of continuous exhibition space spread over six levels and containing over 6,200 pieces from Slim’s art collection.
Designed by Fernando Romero of the firm FREE, the building is shaped like a woman’s bustier with a cinched waist. The amorphous structure is built with 28 curved steel columns of varying diameters, each with its own contoured geometry. While the exterior mass resembles a singular object, the skin is comprised of thousands of hexagonal aluminum modules.
While the building itself is almost opaque–it has no windows–the roof of the top floor is suspended from a cantilever, letting in natural light. The result is a monumental parametric design offering a dramatic sculptural addition to the city once celebrated for its tradition and hand-painted, colorful architecture.