Named one of AOL Travel’s “Buildings You Have to See Before You Die,” this new museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of Salvador Dalí’s art outside of Spain.
The American Institute of Architects placed the building on its distinguished “Florida Architecture of the Last 100 Years” list and Flavorwire ranked it among the “20 Most Beautiful Museums in the World.” The Michelin Guide rates it as the top museum in the American South. The design challenge was to create an affordable, iconic building symbolic of the Spanish painter’s work. The team ensured technical feasibility and design excellence while avoiding “kitsch.”
The three-story museum is on a beautiful bayside site along St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront. The dramatic envelope balances the exhibition and protection of the priceless masterpieces within a simple, powerful aesthetic. A “treasure box” shelters the 2,000-piece collection from potential Category 5 hurricane winds and storm surges.
The design opens up the 18-inch-thick concrete walls with a free-form glass geodesic structure that intrigues visitors while bringing daylight and bay views into public spaces. The 75-foot-tall geodesic glass “Enigma” and 45-foot-tall “Igloo” are formed by 1,062 undulating faceted glass panes, with no two exactly alike.
A poured-in-place, sculptural concrete spiral staircase beckons visitors to the galleries above. In the Permanent Gallery, black plaster light cannons focus natural light on seven large “Masterworks,” illuminating the paintings with UV-filtered daylight within curatorial standards.
The Dalí Museum has reported that the number of ticketed visitors since the new museum opened in 2011 has far surpassed previous attendance.