The design of the new museum, like most natural phenomena, integrates the physical and social conditions that frame the project. The form and special arrangement is a balance between what is perceived as untamed and what perceived as domesticated. The new museum is situated along the University’s Centro Cultural Universitario (CCU), a cultural district next to the main campus.
The museum will act as a link between the new library and auditorium buildings using gardens, paths and landscaping to bridge the gap between the two important campus facilities. The CCU is situated between the main campus and what will eventually be a wilderness preserve for the city of Guadalajara, Mexico’s second most populous city.
Snøhetta marries traditional methods of Spanish colonial planning with the natural phenomena found in the sunken pools and ravines of Jalisco. Large open air courtyards and gardens carve out space in the museum encouraging natural light and ventilation in the space. Alongside the pedestrian areas the museum’s changing exhibitions, retail, entry and open air gardens entice activity at street level. The museum is at once a magnet for social gatherings of various sizes as well as a backdrop for the buildings that surround it. It brings together ideas that might ordinarily seem to disagree.
The design proposes a central campus core with smaller, less urban conditions connecting the ecosystems. This arrangement familiarizes the visitor with the natural phenomena presented in the galleries.
The roof is accessible and a restaurant and aviary draw the visitor upward toward the commanding views presented atop the museum. The project offers a bold vision for immersion of visitors in the experiences of the Jalisco region.