The Salvador Dali Museum, located in Florida, United States has moved premises once again as visitor numbers continue to climb. Started by friends and patrons of the legendary Catalan artist Albert and Eleanor Morse when their personal collection reached mammoth levels, the museum has gathered a huge following over its 39 years in operation. Dali himself presided over the opening of the Morse’s first Salvador Dali Museum in Beachwood Ohio.
International architecture firm HOK are currently constructing a magnificent third home in St Petersburg, Florida, for the extensive collection of oil paintings, watercolours, drawings, graphics, photographs and sculptures available for display. The specially clad structure is comprised of more than nine hundred triangular-shaped glass panels that form the protruding bulges entitled ‘the Igloo’ at 45 ft tall and ‘the Enigma’ at more than 75ft tall. No two glass panels within the curving glass structures are identical so they provide a truly unique view of St. Petersburg’s picturesque waterfront.
Whilst the undulating forms may appear delicate and slight, they have been designed to withstand Florida’s buffeting storms with thick concrete walls protecting the priceless artworks inside from the gusts of up to a Category 5 hurricane (165 mph winds). The museum’s interior is a treat for the eyes of any architect, with a stunning spiral staircase gracefully winding its way up into the transparent ‘Enigma’ echoing the cross-section of a nautilus shell.
The new Dali building at 6,130 sq m will provide space for education of school groups, visitor orientation and classrooms, temporary exhibitions to complement the Dali collection, an indoor/outdoor café and a rentable community room. Placed on the third floor to protect it from water and wind, the largest collection of Dali’s artwork outside Spain will have plenty of room for its spacious display. Rooftop solar panels supply hot water for museum humidity control reheat and hot water supply whilst insulated 18 inch thick reinforced concrete walls provide thermal mass to building.
The Michelin Guide has ranked the institution as the most popular museum in the American South with 200,000 annual visitors; its popularity is set to increase with the stunning new architecture now rivalling the artistic treasures displayed within.
Unsurprisingly, HOK’s bold design for the Salvador Dali Museum has not gone unnoticed by certified bodies, and in August this year HOK will be accepting the Novum Design Excellence Award in recognition of their iconic design in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Salvador Dali Museum is slated to open to the public in January 2011.