Mexico City children's museum selects architects to create inspiring and adventurous new building

by Kim Megson | 08 Dec 2015

Mexico City’s Papalote Children’s Museum has unveiled the winning design for its future home; a forest-inspired building that promotes fun, exploration and discovery.

Barcelona-based design studio MX_SI and Mexican firm SPRB were awarded first prize in the competition for the project, which attracted 171 entries from around the world.

Construction is expected to begin early next year in Iztapalapa district. The new museum building – which will house an expanded number of interactive exhibits for children, as well as an IMAX cinema and a theatre – is scheduled to open in 2017.

The museum will feature a series of concrete partitions that stand like trees under the building’s angular roof. A forest of column walls in the exterior public plaza will filter visitors into the ground floor of the building. The idea takes its inspiration from ‘árbol del tule’ – a local tree that boasts the world’s stoutest trunk.

“It's an urban concept that aims to make the building open rather than inward-looking,” said MX_SI architect Boris Bezan, speaking to Attractions Management. “The museum is not going to be a monolithic space. Instead it will be full of surprises, with open and semi-covered spaces that allow visitors to hide, explore and discover.

“We wanted to create variation. It’s not only a museum, it's a generator for new life and new ideas that will improve the city.”

The museum’s public facilities are positioned on the ground floor, and exhibitions – encouraging children to learn about art, ecology, science, music and human development – will be housed in the upper galleries. Different levels will each include an outdoor space of gardens and terraces.

The total area of the project is 17,500sqm (1.8m sq ft) and the budget is MX$275m (US$16.2m, €14.9m, £10.8m). A development team is currently being assembled.

MX_SI recently designed the new wing of the Contemporary Art Museum Gösta Serlachius in Finland, which opened to the public last year.

The studio is currently developing a new cultural centre for the Slovenian capital Ljubljana.

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Mexico City’s Papalote Children’s Museum has unveiled the winning design for its future home; a forest-inspired building that promotes fun, exploration and discovery. Barcelona-based design studio MX_SI and Mexican firm SPRB were awarded first prize in the competition for the project, which attracted 171 entries from around the world. Construction is expected to begin early next year in Iztapalapa district. The new museum building – which will house an expanded
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