The Oslo- and New York-based firm Snøhetta has been chosen to design the new Museum of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guadalajara. They were selected from a short list including Shigeru Ban, DS+R, Smiljan Radic, and Mauricio Rocha.
Construction on the $35 million building, which was developed in collaboration with ARUP, is scheduled to begin in 2011. Located in Mexico’s second most populated city, the museum will be part of the school’s Centro Cultural Universitario, which will consist of a cultural district adjacent to the main campus and planned wilderness preserves.
According to Snøhetta, the site’s “unique hybrid of cultural and natural landscapes allows for a new understanding in Mexican architecture.” As such, the design makes use of linked courtyards and gardens to maximize fresh air, open space and natural light. The irregularly-shaped courtyards are meant to echo both traditional Spanish colonial planning and forms found in the surrounding landscapes of Jalisco.
Acting as a bridge between the university’s new library and auditorium buildings, the structure will be compact, keeping sight-line disruptions to a minimum. With trees peeking out from the gardens below, the museum’s rooftop will be accessible to visitors, giving them another perspective from which to view the surrounding area.