Guggenheim Guadalajara Museum of Contemporary Art

Guadalajara, Mexico
Asymptote's Guggenheim Guadalajara Museum proposal calls for a strong iconic architectural image and presence on what is a unique and spectacular site at the edge of the city. The taught contoured architectural form that makes for buildings presence and stature is situated at the edge of cliff that drops some 600 meters into a valley below and then visually extends as far as the eye can see.

At this unique site the dense chaotic urban fabric terminates at an astonishing infinite vastness of a landscape known at the Barranca. The Museum design embraces this condition and creating a spectacular urban post and immense 'balcony' as an unparalleled spatial experience. By lifting the entire Museum off the ground and elevating it 18m above the plaza below, the building takes advantage of the precipitous edge of the canyon enveloping a new kind of urban public space.

This new cultural modern Zócalo is contained by four corner buildings that rise up to support the sweeping underbelly of the museum above, this new space functions simultaneously as a viewing platform, a gateway, a gathering place, an urban theater and outdoor exhibition space that serve local citizens and museum visitors alike.

The new plaza is connected to the interior of the Museum above by two large inclined volumes housing escalators that provide a dramatic entrance experience while overlooking the spectacular landscape.

The multi-storey Museum lobby is a highly animated public domain that accommodates a range of amenities such as café, museum shop, reading room, education center and theaters that are designed to be publicly accessible and separate from the ticketed gallery spaces.

The main exhibition spaces are located in large flexible volumes on two upper levels connected by bridges and balconies that overlook the lobby space. On the upper most levels of the administrative tower a publicly accessible museum restaurant offers views of both the swelling forms of the architecture and the spectacular panorama of the Barranca canyon beyond.

Project Information
Date: 2005

Size: 25,000 sqm

Location: Guadalajara, Mexico

Design Team:

Architect: Asymptote Architecture

Design: Hani Rashid, Lise Anne Couture

Project Director: Jill Leckner

Design Team: Fernando Velasco, Eric Goldemberg,

Asako Hiraoka-Sperry, Jose Muñoz, Carlo Aiello,

Erick Carcamo, Noboru Ota

Christopher Horger, Stefan John, Andy Pluess, Eduardo

Ramirez, Laura Treviño, Kara Yamagami

Client: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation New York


Structural Engineer: Buro Happold

Environmental Consultant: Atelier Ten

Cost Consultant: Davis Langdon

Experience Design: Imaginary Forces

Model Prototyping: InterPRO Montreal