Museum buildings tend to be conceived either for maximum functionality – acting as neutral containers for art – or as iconic structures that represent a city at a particular historic moment. The Museo Soumaya was designed as both: a sculptural building that is unique and contemporary, yet one able to house a collection of international paintings, sculptures, and decorative objects dating from the fourteenth century to the present.
The exterior of the building is an amorphous shape perceived differently from every angle, reflecting the diversity of the collection inside. The building’s distinctive façade is made of hexagonal aluminum modules facilitating its preservation and durability. The shell is constructed with steel columns of different diameters, each with its own geometry and shape, creating non-linear circulation paths for the visitor. The building encompasses 20,000 square meters of exhibition space divided among five floors, as well as an auditorium, café, offices, gift shop, and multipurpose lobby. The top floor is the largest space in the museum, with its roof suspended from a cantilever that allows in natural daylight.