Guggenheim Museum

Mexico Go Full Screen

The Basalt Mass 
The museum is a basalt monolith balanced on the edge of the Barranca. It is a mass made of the matter of the ground of the site.
Representing the landscape of the Barranca within the monolith.
A series of viewing shafts cut through the mass awakening the senses to the perception of the site. The visitor recomposes the landscape from fragments. Through this spatial mechanism, the strong elements of the site are captured in order to feel emotions. Framed views of the specifics of the landscape: depth, proximity and distance, the edge between cite/nature, vertigo…
The Five Worlds and the Question of the Museum How to respond to the general question of the program of a museum with five specific universes?The museum is thought of as a series of specific supports with precise characteristics.Spaces are dedicated to works of art but are also spaces in which artists are able to intervene. These are thematic spaces as well as atmospheres that make it possible to discover works of art.
The World of Light It is a space where the quality of natural light is a reference.The intense light of Guadalajara reflects off the basalt mass and penetrates the space by reflection; certain rays enter directly revealing the matter, the shadows and the contours. It is a space where the light varies as a function of the hours of the day; it is a space where nature and intensity of light evolve.
The Every Day World As the name indicates, this is a universe that is familiar to us. It is a space that reminds us of certain domestic scales that we know – those of grand apartments or of palaces with rows of rooms, generous, public and sumtptuous, but also of the scale of the anti-chamber, intimate, secret and exclusive.
The Depth World In reference to the mysterious world of abyss, the Depth World is conceived to welcome works of art that are their own sources of light. The space is sombre, without limit, video installations and illuminated photographs, float in space. Each installation welcomes the visitor in the halo of light.
The Real World What artist dares to confront nature in its brute form? A perverse but stimulating mean: attaching a platform to the edge of the Barranca. A reduced surface for installation and limited accessibility (a foot path, or an elevator linked to the museum). Re-pose the question of representation: Artiste vs. Nature.
The monolith is situated in such a way that it opens views of the horizon from the Calzada Independencia. The Calzada Independencia extends into the park at an altimetry of +1523 meters creating the Plaza Independencia. It articulates an access to the museum, the university and the park. It approaches the void but not enough to see below. The discovery of the Depth is thus put off for later. The museum is sited at the edge of the Barranca, reinforcing the idea of the limit between the city and nature. One part of the monolith is cantilevered; the mass seems unstable.The monolith is situated above the limit of the 1500m and doesn’t exceed the limit of the site in projection. It is important to note that the Real World, whose location within the Barranca is a subject of discussion, is an option at this stage of the project.
The monolith is of basalt. At the scale of the landscape, the museum is a bloc of gray basalt similar to the rock exposures of the Barranca.
From the Calzada Independencia, the museum stands out because of a mysterious shimmering that is the reflection of the son on the material of the monolith.
As one approaches, the Western facade is visible from the extension of the Calzada Independencia. It is of polished basalt that reflects the landscape of the Barranca. The monolith is situated at a slight angle (3 degrees), opening a gleaming façade and revealing the depth of the canyon.
The Southern facade is the entry. The material of the monolith appears striated and rough. Painted images recall frescos ornamenting the interior of grand houses and of holes carved into the mass. These images are painted with an optical process identical to that utilised by “Opart” artists. Whether to paint a pattern which is not visible from one point of view. In the case, the painted images on the mass will only be visible from the exterior. The Eastern and Northern facades follow the same logic. The mass of basalt seems to emerge from the ground and the rock itself. A cascade of water shows on the corner of the Southern facade. LED’s are incrusted into the rock and climb the facade. The LED’s are programmable in order to diffuse images. Here the reflections of the water, the glimmering of the sun along the water and of the light of the LED’s combine along the rough, striated basalt.
The park is freely accessible. It has only one entrance from the Plaza Independencia. The Guggenheim Museum is situated within this public park.
The character of the city park is reinforced by the implantation of new exterior fit-out and by the densification of vegetation. The vegetation of the park must be different from the plants of the Barranca. The Park is the edge of the city on the plateau before plunging into the canyon.
A public foot path, freely accessible circles the Park. It begins between the western border of the terrain and the Museum, descending to look out points along the canyon’s edge then climbing along the eastern limit.
Trails at the heart of the park link the new features. The features, created or resituated are implanted along surfaces that are imprinted, in negative or in positive, within the ground revealing the matter of the earth and of the mass.
Parking (270 places) is localised on two levels under the Plaza Independencia. The first level has a ceiling height of 4.5m, making it possible to welcome tour buses. The parking and the loading areas of the museum are contiguous. In the park, we have placed 130 exterior parking places at the South Eastern border of the Park. There is also an option for 240 additional places to be created underground.
The Museum is accessed (+1518) following the natural slope of the terrain. We penetrate into the mass using a passarelle on the Southern Facade. We access a high-ceiling room (7m) opening onto the retail area and the welcome hall. A view finder frames the opposite face of the Barranca.
The visitor service area (alt +1518) is a large space of long proportions with one sole tenant. The ceiling height varies between 3m and 19m; it is a space sculpted within the mass that opens up to a stairway that leads to a terrace on the edge of the Barranca (alt. +1521). The walls of the volumes of the ceiling can be used for the projection of video or images. A café, coat check, and restrooms complete the facilities of the welcome area. The western wall integrates three elevators, each of them insuring direct access between the welcome hall and three of the five Worlds (The World of Light, The Depth World, The Every Day World). The eastern wall contains an access to the two other worlds (The Abstract World and The Real World) as well as the theatre. From the stair that leads to the terrace, on can also access the restaurant using stairs or an elevator.
The Museum is defined by five thematic and specific worlds.
Three of them (The World of Light, The Depth World and The Every Day World) bring together the total surface area demanded in the original program (8200 m2). We propose a little bit more (9000 m2). We have also proposed two extraordinary spaces (The Abstract World and The Real World) where artists intervene within the strong spaces to produce unique works specifically for the Guadalajara Museum.The World of Light is a space dedicated to natural light. It is a space ideal for displaying paints, sculptures and installations.
The Depth World is a dark space with imperceptible contours. The works of art are the unique sources of light. It is a flexible space where we can develop a number of video installations, projections…
The Every Day World is a space that is able to welcome large expositions or retrospectives but can also be partitioned for more modest events. It is a world that develops along three levels, able to made independent of each other.
The Abstract World is a sphere in which an artist is able to intervene. The intervention is temporary and changes 4 or 5 times a year.
The Real World is a platform within the Barranca 130m below on the precipice. It is also a place for an artist to intervene.
Technical zones (restrooms, fire stairs, elevators, maintenance areas, mechanicals) are planned within the circumference of the worlds (grey areas) except The Real World, giving the mass its thickness. Each World is connected by a freight elevator with the loading area.
Museum personnel and administration access offices areas from the entry lobby (alt +1518). It is a secure access. Two elevators insure a link from a secure access point between each level of the museum up to offices situated on the last level of the Museum. The office spaces are articulated around planted patios and frame the sky.
It is accessible by elevator from the entry hall. From the education centre we have access to each gallery level.
It is accessible from the entry hall.
It is accessible from the entry hall as well as from the park.
The retail areas are served from the entry welcome area.
The loading area is accessible by a ramp connected to the visitor parking entry. The area is connected to the logistical spaces for the works of art (storage and restoration) and the spaces for non-art storage. From the loading area, a large freight elevator serves the ensemble of the museum levels.

Status: Unbuilt
Location: Guadalajara, Mexico
Dates: December 2004/ April 2005
Net Floor Area: 24 500m2
Type of Commission: Architectural Competition
Program: Mexican and Latin American galleries, Guggenheim galleries, Special exhibition galleries, Specialized galleries, Education center, Theater, Retail Restaurant, Visitor service
Client: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Architectural Team Jean Nouvel - Ateliers Jean Nouvel
Project Managers: David Fagart
Architects: Sylvie Erard, Mizuo Kishi, Xavier Leplae, Ana Martins, Jean Romain Munvez, Martin Tegaldo, Quiang Zou
​Museography : Reza Azard
Landscaping : Emmanuel Blanc
Graphics: Eugenie Robert, Sebastien Bin
Administration : Emmanuel Blanc
Models: Jean-Louis Courtois, Jean marc Kurckzewski
Computer Images: Artefactory, Jean François Winninger