Museum with a hair-do
by Arquine Magazine | Mar 30, 2014
The new Jumex Museum in Mexico City. Photo © Jaime Navarro

The new exhibition space for the “Colección Jumex” in Mexico City’s up-market Polanco district is flanked by Avenue Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the Parque Lineal (a narrow stretch of greenery running along the former Ferrocarril de Cuernavaca train tracks) and the Plaza Carso shopping mall. This new cultural complex, designed by David Chipperfield Architects, is being built alongside the Cervantes Theater, from Ensamble Studio and FR-EE’s Soumaya Museum on a triangular site; the proposal features a sober use of volumes and a stepped outer shell.

The adjacent sculptural volumes are aligned with the well-proportioned mass encased in concrete panels and white stone. This structural matrix creates a constant rhythm that gives the building a near-monolithic effect. The principal areas of the building face onto the new mall and the street behind the Antara shopping mall. Visitors enter from an elevated outdoor terrace, either along an elongated ramp or up a set of stairs that connect to Plaza Carso; this entrance links to a large hall leading to the foyer gallery.

The main gallery space is distributed across two upper stories in order to maximize natural lighting conditions. The lower floors contain spaces for the program’s more social activities. The roof, a set of four staggered pyramids, covers the entire gallery and allows light to stream into the exhibition areas. The structural beams are placed above a false ceiling which diffuses the light. Above the roof a steel structure supports the skylights—equipped with Persian blinds and ambient light controls that filter the daylight.

The Jumex Collection and the Jumex Foundation form part of a growing repertoire of museums which David Chipperfield has designed or extended: the River & Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames, Neues Museum in Berlin, Figge Art Museum in Davenport, the Museum of Modern Literature in Marbach, the Design Museum in London, and the Turner Contemporary in Kent.

The article was first published at arquine.

The upper exhibition spaces during construction. Photo © Jaime Navarro
The facade during construction. Photo © Jaime Navarro