The Biodiversity Museum: Panama Bridge of Life
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The Biodiversity Museum: Panama Bridge of Life (also known as Biomuseo) is located on the Amador Causeway in Panama City, Panama. It was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. This is Gehry's first design for Latin America.
The design was conceived in 1999. In 2004 it was announced that Gehry would donate his design to the people of Panama. however the design may be a gift to Gehry's Panamanian wife, Berta Gehry Aguilera.
Construction began in late 2004 with a 60 million dollar budget and was scheduled to end in 2011. Setbacks pushed the completion date mid-2012. Construction funding comes from over 100 local companies who in conjunction with the Panamanian government were able to raise the funds to finish the project. The site was at the end of the Causeway facing the Pacific Ocean at the entrance of the Panama Canal. This provides ocean panoramic views of the ocean and cargo ships entering the canal. Construction required new techniques due to the radical shapes, angles and materials needed, none of which had ever been employed in Panama, according to structural engineer Antonio Amado Díaz. The building silhouette is the usual unusual Gehry design, however unlike most of his designs, each panel is painted a different bright colour. The reason for the bright colors were said to express its tropical location. Construction is scheduled to finish during mid-2012.
The Biodiversity Museum will contain 8 exhibitions that will mainly revolve around the idea of Panama's biodiversity. These exhibitions will be mainly led by the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Panama. Besides a museum it will also have the capacity to host small events such as concerts, private events and expositions.
The Gehry design is expected to attract tourists and help grow Panama's cultural attractions. The museum should have a similar effect as Gehry's Guggenheim design had for Bilbao, which rejuvenated and placed the city on the map as an important architectural destination.
- Germano, Celant (2010). Frank O. Gehry since 1997. New York: Rizzoli International Publications. p. 318.
- Forbes, Elise. "The panama biodiversity museum designed by frank gehry". Panama Magazine.
- Aguilera, Isabel. "Panama Biodiversity". Panama Travel Group.