Museo Soumaya by FREE Fernando
Romero EnterprisE


FREE Fernando Romero EnterprisE Museo Soumaya

FREE Fernando Romero EnterprisE have completed this anvil-shaped museum in Mexico City, with a windowless facade composed of hexagonal aluminium tiles.

FREE Fernando Romero EnterprisE Museo Soumaya

The Museo Soumaya is constructed of 28 steel curved columns with different diameters and geometries, which create its irregular form.

Museo Soumaya by FREE Fernando Romero EnterprisE

The building widens at the top, where a roof suspended from a cantilever allows natural daylight onto the top floor gallery.

FREE Fernando Romero EnterprisE Museo Soumaya

The museum will house over 6,200 Latin American artworks in a continuous exhibition space spread across six storeys, as well as an auditorium for 350 people, a library, offices, a restaurant, a gift shop and a lounge.

FREE Fernando Romero EnterprisE Museo Soumaya

Photography is by Adam Wiseman.

More museum stories on Dezeen »

Here is some more information from the architects:

Completion of Museo Soumaya
FREE Fernando Romero EnterprisE

Mexico City–Designed by FREE Fernando Romero EnterprisE, Museo Soumaya opened to the public on March 29, 2011 after four years of development. The Museo Soumaya houses one of the most important art collections in Latin America with over 6,200 artworks and 60,000 square feet of exhibition space.

FREE Fernando Romero EnterprisE Museo Soumaya

The Soumaya Museum is located in a former industrial zone dating from the 1940’s which today presents a very high commercial potential. The Soumaya Museum plays a key role in the reconversion of the area:  as a preeminent cultural program, it acts as an initiator in the transformation of the urban perception. Its avant-garde morphology and typology define a new paradigm in the history of Mexican and international architecture.

Museo Soumaya by FREE Fernando Romero EnterprisE

From the outside, the building is an organic and asymmetrical shape that is perceived differently by each visitor, while reflecting the diversity of the collection on the inside. Its heterogeneous collection is housed in a continuous exhibition space spread over six levels, representing approximately 60,000 ft². The building also includes an auditorium for 350 people, library, offices, a restaurant, a gift shop and a multi-purpose gathering lounge.

Museo Soumaya by FREE Fernando Romero EnterprisE

The shell of the building is constructed with 28 steel curved columns of different diameters, each with its own geometry and shape, offering the visitor a soft non-linear circulation all through the building. Located at each floor level, seven ring beams provide a system that braces the structure and guarantees its stability. The top floor is the most generous space of the museum; its roof is suspended from an impressive cantilever that allows natural daylight to flow in freely. In contrast, the building’s envelope is nearly opaque, offering little and scarce openings to the outside. This gesture can be interpreted as an intention to create a protected shelter for the art collection. The façade is made of hexagonal aluminum modules that optimize the preservation and durability of the entire building.

Museo Soumaya by FREE Fernando Romero EnterprisE

“The Museo Soumaya is an extraordinary structure rising up from the earth’s crust as a multi-dimensional icon,”  Raymund Ryan, 
The Heinz Architectural Center.

FREE Fernando Romero EnterprisE Museo Soumaya

Location: Lago Zurich # 245, Col. Ampliación Granada, Del. Miguel Hidalgo. México DF. C.P. 11320
Completion: March 2011
Client/Owner: Fundación Carlos Slim
Architect Office: FREE Fernando Romero EnterprisE
General Contractor: CARSO Infraestructura y Contrucción
Interior Design:  FREE + MYT/ CEO-Andrés Mier y Teran

  • m0s

    more interior shots please

  • sorry mexico, birmingham did this already 6 years ago

    • roberto

      So what? Different audience dude.

  • mcmlxix

    It’s quite fascinating, and a sculpture in itself, and I think it tops Gehry. Regarding “…museum will house…artworks in a continuous exhibition space spread across six storeys…” Wright did it.

  • OPA

    so big money for so big nothing.. what a pity.

  • eugmir

    highly photogenic from the outside, but does it blend? work? drawings?more interior views?

  • eduardo

    kind of hard to put a paint on it …. but it has a nice form. Without plans I'd risk to say it works better as a sculpture than as a museum.

  • Seymore

    It’s looks likes Selfridges slightly fitter younger sister!

  • ivo

    TOP project !!! too bad we can’t see the floor plans & sections … neither pictures of the cantilevered roof : (

  • no fool

    the construction quality of this building is awful, you can appreciate it on the close-up pics. it's poorly planned, bad executed and doesn´t relate at all with it's sorroundings… besides being butt-ugly. romero thought he could amaze us all with a shiny weird shaped building.. but it only shows his inmaturity as an architect.

  • Soy mexicana, y he visitado el Museo, que mas que un Museo, es un complejo cultural y Centro comercial.
    Es muy hermoso e impresionante, es un regalo visual, vale la pena conocerlo!!!

    • onofre

      Y porque no lo escribes en ingles para que todo el mundo te entienda?

  • teefs

    Very very sexy indeed – love it!

  • This museum is worthless. I've been to it and I can tell you, there is an absolute lack of any architectural decency. To start off, it is terribly set; there's no natural light (!!!), obviously there's no natural ventilation; access is through a club-like entrance that opens up into a pseudo atrium that has absolutely no scale whatsoever; construction details are scarce and badly done (which obviously means there's been no thought behind them); the top "gallery" makes you feel like you're in a supermarket from all its careless steel… Honest, if I were to point out all the points in which this museum fails I would bore all of you.

    For me, it is clear that this is just pure envelope. He claims to have worked with Koolhaas, but I must tell you, this guy didn't learn a thing.

    • aalto

      Thank you for your words of reason. This is such an affront to the architecture world. The building itself is indeed a pretty spectacular (although badly executed) sculpture, but besides that, it is utterly worthless. One thing that can be easily forgotten, is that it is part of a larger complex that is so badly designed one cannot even begin to describe it . Please read Romero's Wikipedia entry, self-aggrandizing and delusional don't begin to describe it.

    • nicole

      I completly agree with you! I have been in al museum my self and it was totaly disapointing.

    • Jose

      it's true about this museum not having natural light getting inside. I think it is horrendous. however, the idea of natural ventilation in mexico city, come on, it's a city that's over-polluted. do you really want the exterior to become the interior, and start deteriorating the art, dont think so. Still, pretty bad execution at concealing everything without room for natural light. Hopefully this guy alone wont kill latin american architecture (he already started with this building, i have nothing against it, here form doesnt care about function, its all about how it looks aesthetically)

    • Daniel Alvarez

      " Building a project with Fernando Romero is like building a computer with Steve Jobs" Rem Koolhaas

      The G20 Convention Center (where the 20 most important people gather to solve the world's problems) is a project by Fernando Romero, Grupo Carso has nothing to do with it, in fact they where pissed they couldnt get in.

      " i admire Fernando Romero's Work" " i love the museum" Zaha Hadid on her trip to Mexico.
      P.S. : She left her admiration expression in the muesums book of comments.

      Who are you guys? How old are you? …… What have you accomplished so far?
      see? you are in no position to critizise someone whe had his thesis corrected by Alvaro Siza him- self when asisting the university,who was the president of the congress of architecture while still at the university. Worked with Jean Nouvel and Rem Koolhaas and was and still is one of their favorites. Fernando Romero was hired by Rem Koolhaas because he presnted the "Casa da Musica" of Oporto and was named chief of project, and by the way it is Named by the UNESCO a Wrold Heritage Site.
      All of this before he even met Soumaya Slim.
      And judging by Carlos Slim's achievements, obssesion for excelence and libanese culture he would have never let a mediocre guy like your- selvesget married to his daughter and be in charge of such an important project to him peronally because it represents his wife, Soumaya Domit.
      So please do this for your-selves: Stop watching and critisizing other peoples lives, get a life of your own, start building it and accomplish something your-selves im sure you can do something.
      Greetings from Mexico.

      • hugo

        doesn't matter what i have achieved or not. this building is awful. agreed, Romero has excellent projects elsewhere, but this one is a big miss.

        I would leave mr. Slim's achievements out of the discussion, by the way.

  • sara

    its a pity there is no active street edge.

    the form is spectacular.

  • sparkleface

    i would wear this facade as a dress!

  • James

    An art museum without natural light.

    An art museum without natural light.

    An art museum without natural light.

    An art museum without natural light.


    • Tindo

      To be fair, you come for the art, not the view.

  • neutr

    seriously!! no plans, sections?haha nice dress!

  • Why such hostility for Romero? Professional jealousy perhaps? He has some fine buildings to his credit. Here's my favorite:

    • David O

      it is indeed his best building… but pitty to find out it's just a remodelation of a wonderful building by Antonio Atolini.

  • this is a colosal DISASTER.

  • Gi-Eich

    Live in Mexico city but never been to the museum, it is remarkable that this is in fact the first parametric design building in Mexico, as for that its understandable that it has a few construction flaws here and there, because third world countries like this are just not technologically prepared to deliver such a complex form perfectly executed, but dont worry we'll get there .

  • jre

    and I love the new name "FREE"…. leaves no ambiguity as to how much you will get paid when considering entry level employment…

    • aaa

      he even makes staff pay for the coffee in the office

  • Duran

    Fernando Romero and Fernando Donis. Both mexican, both worked at OMA. Both disastrous.

    • Alvin

      What is it with the negative reference to people working at OMA? It has been obvious for centuries, that ex-colleagues of Rem had a struggling time trying to find their own way of doing architecture: Zenghelis, MVRDV, Hadid, FOA, BIG, Work AC, JDS, Rex, Mass Studies, Scheeren, Neutelings, deGeyter, RAD, HWKN, ICE etc… But nevertheless, they succeeded in their own way. And at least they got big projects, which will be built. Who can say that of their own predecessors. This project is not the best, but better and more exciting, than most of the comments it receives – and it is built.

      • Duran

        If your father-in-law had 70+ billion dollars there would be a lot of things you could build.
        Don't get me wrong, what I meant is that they both worked at OMA, but their latest projects just do not respond to their contexts. Specially with Romero's project and its social context. I am not saying I want to see boxes because of the other boxes there. But such an expensive project as this is should at least have more content. To me, this project is a "vulgar display of power".

  • al matta

    Bravo to the man that financed the project. This is a wonderful opportunity to see world class artworks for the people of Mexico, please stop all your immature whining and appreciate it for what it is, another important transitional episode in architecture discourse. Maybe the building is not about the usual confines of mundane things such as 'entry point' or imbedded aluminium discs a la Selfridge; or penetrations of natural light through a gallery space..they are such predictable expectations…at least it's not one of those boring sterile European stacked boxes done to death a million times…it is an amazing building viewed from the context of the local population and urban geography…but then again for some of us supposedly informed arbiters of taste, it is far more easier to criticize than formulate an idea. Thanks Carlos and Free from 'Down-Under!

    • gabswolf

      I'm sorry, but I wouldn't call minimum museographical conditions "predictable expectations". They have 16th century wood panels on room temperature, because neither natural ventilation nor air conditioning occurred to the architect! Besides, Mexico City is the city with MOST museums in the world, we have enough "world class artworks" avaliable already!

  • Juan Luis

    I'm mexican, living on Mexico City, and also an Architect…. this building is just a pity, a total waste of money …. Coming from the worlds richest man , Carlos Slim, the building just dont respond to anything, poor quality on its construction and a way to tell people "Look how rich am I …. now you're poor and I need to teach you" …..

    Way to go… as an architect, I find offensive that Fernando Romero, that is married to Carlos Slim daughter, made this awful, unfaithful, and workless building ….

  • ajua

    Where is the Fernando Romero from LCM? the Fernando Romero who used to organize incredible exhibitions like the "El cielo es azul" in Barragan house with Hans Ulrich Obrist and top artists? now is really disapointing, the awfull projects on his website "Zaha-style" or even worst… horrible! back to the basics please…

    • esteban

      Yeah you’re right. Our society should go back centuries in every aspect, because changes aren’t good! We should still be doing projects from the middle ages.

      Jajaja, come on…

  • andrea p
  • PopUpPopOut

    some people are comparing this with Selfridges in Burmingham….

    I think it's more akin to the Debenhams store in Bury St.Edmunds

  • brad

    Anyone who posted a comment on this, please post a link to a project that YOU PERSONALLY designed, so that we can tear you down as much as possible.

    What happened to constructive criticism? It just seems like people who probably haven't built anything substantial are really quick to jump on here and make vicious comments about how terrible a project is.

    Somebody please post your project that is utterly perfect, incorporating all the correct amounts of imagination, natural light, natural ventilation, urban presence, sustainability, giving back to the community, a very detailed facade analysis, flawless choice of colors and materials, and the ability not to make a single person mad that you built that building.


    • maxime


      it's not about 'not being perfect',
      it's about 'not being interesting', at all..

      • gabriel

        Actually it is interesting; even you find it interesting. Otherwise we wouldn’t be talking about it. So post an “interesting project” – let’s see your work.

  • Muhammad

    i dont think it tops gehry… this shape has atleast an order….. Gehry has his own level…

  • Daniel Delfin

    Ok, I've been there a couple of times, and just think that it's great. The design is very innovative for Mexico and it's obvious that criticism will take place, as it did with almost every innovative building in the world. I can't say, by any means, that it's a huge event on mexican architecture or that the building is a masterpiece, it's not. And yes, it surely could have been better, more impresive, with a better quality of materials, etc. But the thing is that it is the first time in our days that we have something as new and deconstructive as this in Mexico, it is new, this construction opens a door to many other innovative proyects that in Mexico are so hard to find. Mexicans are really conservative about our architecture, and for doing so we sometimes make expensive but irrelevant buildings (like the Torre Mayor, the tallest tower in Latin America but with no special highlights). There is a new wave inside mexican architecture that wants to show that not everything in Mexico has to be Barragán or Legorreta style. I mean, Barragán and Legorreta are great, total geniouses, but it's ok if someone wants to do something different. In the end, the Soumaya Museum is in the style of the world's new architecture, as was the Palacio del Correo (Mail Palace), and the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Beaux Art's Palace) in their days. Maybe in the future it will be appreciated as so.

    • Gabriel

      Sorry to disagree, but this type of architecture is not new at all.

      • santiago

        In Mexico it is.

  • I'm of the belief that the building might be strange, but the interior shots look amazing. I also think Daniel Deffin [above] makes some good points about how important this museum design will be for Mexico. The construction materials may be less then desirable and the design might be a bit uninspired but I think we should recognize that its unique and its an investment in culture on a large scale when the world around us has embraced cheap homogeneity.

  • al matta

    It is easier to criticize than formulate an idea. There are plenty of those super duper functional,resolved,highly detailed buildings(usually German or Swiss) that barely incite any fruitful form of discussion on architecture discourse..I like this building despite its supposed shortcomings(I've never been there).BTW, it's nothing like might as well say it's like Bilbao Museum as well just because of its metallic skin.

  • kari

    I agree with some of the comments above; without visible floor plans and sections it's difficult to know if it truly provides a pleasant experience along with well-thought out spatial arrangements. I do however enjoy the exterior form. I also wish it would have done more with its street scape. The only way to know is to visit the museum.

  • johnny

    has this guy just started on 3dsmax? start with a cube, twist, click, pull, and there we have it; architecture…

    • diego

      Are you comparing yourself with Romero? If that´s the best you can imagine I don´t really think you have an idea of what architecture is about. Please investigate a bit before saying nonsense, and I don’t mean reading comments and getting into gossip sites.