|In construction: HOK’s Dali Museum, in St. Petersburg, Florida|
|Tuesday, 21 December 2010 08:45|
With he opening for the project planned for January 11th, we wanted to share with our readers photographs of the work during construction, that we have recently received, along with some explanation that sheds the light about HOK's concept. The photographs give a glimpse of the architects and builders attention to details, and how the ideas on paper are translating into reality.
A cultural and artistic renaissance has officially surfaced among the white-capped waves and sailboats that rock gently along the waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla. The understated, conservative ambiance of the city’s past has quietly drifted out with the tide in sharp contrast to the now-apparent wave of change rising here.
Strikingly unique and hardly understated, St. Petersburg’s cultural revolution is a mirrored reflection of its new, most progressive architectural achievement, the new Salvador Dalí Museum Museum.
A visitor to the soon-to-open Dalí museum can easily imagine the world’s most famous surrealist as a confidant and counselor to the modern-day “artists” commissioned to capture the spirit of a wild eccentric through architectural expression. Grandiose, unusual and completely comfortable drawing attention to himself, Salvador Dalí has undoubtedly spoken through the ages to guide world-renowned architect, Yann Weymouth and his team at HOK, in an effort to captures the world’s attention in a unique and unconventional way.
Like Dali, this architectural icon is no stranger to the inevitable criticisms that can be associated with high-profile, extraordinary anomalies. He has navigated the often unpredictable waters of public perception before (think the pyramid at the Louvre) and is well-versed in the complexities and expectations involved in creating a true cultural phenomenon through unparalleled, progressive design.
The 66,450-square-foot structure looks and feels dramatically different than the original museum, which debuted in a one-story warehouse along the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront in 1982.
A prime differentiating factor is its exterior, which stands more than 75 feet tall and is adorned with more than 1,000 triangular-shaped glass panels, each offering a distinct view of the waterfront. The building’s 18-inch thick waterproof reinforced concrete and 12-inch thick floors and roof have been engineered withstand the 165 mph sustained winds of a Category 5 hurricane, which typically visit the Sunshine State every five to 10 years.
This rectangular fortress is raw and unfinished that does not require waterproofing or painting, and thus reduces costs for future upkeep.
The sister forms of the glass ” Enigma” and its smaller sister, the glass “Igloo” are based on the work of Buckminster Fuller, who pioneered geodesic geometries and domes and was coincidentally a friend of Dali. The “Enigma” embraces Dali’s love for nature by giving visitors views of the bay and the exquisite gardens outside but also invites changing natural light to fill the museum’s interior.
Based on the designs of HOK, Novum Structures engineered, manufactured and installed two free-form glass structures. Constructed of the more than 1,000 triangulated glass panels that seemingly melt on to the form, each measures 1 ½ inches thick with no two being identical. They were fabricated through computer-aided robotic technology, and were tracked and delivered and precisely assembled through the use of a complex bar-code label system. In addition, each glass panel was tested for more than a year to ensure resistance to the 135 mph wind, rain and impact of a Category 3.
Inside the museum, the 75-foot-high atrium will expose visitors to the galleries on the third level. A raw concrete spiral staircase is supported only at the bottom and third level here and hints at Dali’s fascination with the DNA double-helix and the natural forms found in nature.
The Dalí was designed, as are all HOK projects, with sustainability as a priority. HOK has implemented an array of sustainable strategies, which reinforce the firm’s commitment to economic and environmental responsibility and will also provide increased benefits for museum operations by saving water, energy, and dollars.
Water efficient fixtures are incorporated throughout the building and solar hot water will be used. The white roof is highly reflective and is expected to save about 20 percent of potential roof heat load. The thick walls of the “Treasure Box” are insulated and will lower cooling expenses. Natural day lighting has been used to illuminate the master’s works within and most building materials have been made of recycled content.
Here, where the artist’s largest collection will reside, the team at HOK has characteristically succeeded in the perfect expression of both art and architecture. Dali has been reborn through design- a design that masterfully exudes the ideals, intrigue and flair of a now seemingly-immortal existence. The artist and the architect are gliding gracefully onto the world’s stage once again for an all-important engagement.
A true treasure to behold, this final jewel in St. Petersburg’s strand of architectural pearls will link past and future, art and design, history and progression. As anticipation builds and the “treasure box” is slowly opened Dali is no doubt watching. Certainly with one glance he would paint this architectural wonder as an undeniable catalyst to the free-flowing imagination and interpretation to which he and Weymouth are accustom. Both will once again touch the world, transcend time and unite us all through remarkable expression.
The new Dali Museum is located eight blocks north of its current location at One Dali Boulevard in St. Petersburg.