The “Puente de Vida Museum” by Frank Gehry features an impressive design inspired by the natural forces that gave birth to this land, as well as an image deeply rooted in the Panamese history and culture.
Designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the Biomuseo is his first work in Latin America and the tropics. The building was designed to tell the story of how the isthmus of Panama rose from the sea, uniting two continents and separating a vast ocean… altering the planet’s biodiversity forever.
The Biomuseo is located on the Amador Causeway, a prominent area at the entrance to the Panama Canal in the Pacific Ocean. From the museum’s site one can clearly see the skyline of the modern city, the historic district, Ancon Hill, and the Bridge of the Americas.
The museum is composed of pavilions that contain interactive exhibits, developed by Bruce Mau Design. In addition to the main gallery spaces, the museum includes a public atrium, a space for temporary exhibitions, a shop, a cafe, and multiple outdoor exhibits displayed in the botanical park. The park itself, landscaping and the surrounding public space are designed by renowned landscape architects Edwina von Gal & Company.
Although the geometry is characteristic of Frank Gehry’s work, Devarajan goes on to say that exterior finishes – plaster over a concrete substrate – are what is commonly expected in Panama, blending the aesthetics of an internationally celebrated architect with the craft of the local culture.
The museum developed into a structure with a central atrium, open to the air and accessible, with eight galleries branching off of it. Each gallery has its own architectural identity and embodies its exhibit’s contents.
Gehry’s signature fragmented and asymmetrical design comprises undulating roof panels, creating a collage of form and color: the architect departs from his usual metallic color scheme and adds bold red, golden yellow and cobalt blue panels that reflect the tropical environment. Collectively, the roofs create an irregular silhouette that represents the spontaneity of the natural forces that give shape to our world.