toyo ito completes sculptural museum in mexico dedicated to baroque art
toyo ito completes sculptural museum in mexico dedicated to baroque art
may 22, 2016

toyo ito completes sculptural museum in mexico dedicated to baroque art

toyo ito completes sculptural museum in mexico dedicated to baroque art
photos courtesy of patrick lopez jaimes / danstek




in the mexican city of puebla, acclaimed japanese architect toyo ito has designed a museum dedicated to baroque art. the museo internacional del barroco, or simply the MIB, occupies a prominent UNESCO world heritage site in the country’s fourth largest city. the project seeks to translate the baroque movement, which is considered to be one of the first truly international styles, into the building’s design. consequently the design team established three guidelines for the museum’s construction. firstly, in order to achieve a sense of fluidity, the rigid layout was dissolved with a series of curving walls. ‘in the MIB we try to break and dissolve the cold and rigid order to achieve fluid spaces,’ explain the architects. ‘we hope that when people move from one room to another, they experience a baroque space.’

the project is located in the mexican city of puebla




another an important emphasis was placed on ensuring a natural flow of light. ‘in baroque art, light symbolizes a revelation from god opposing the darkness of ambivalence,’ continues the design team. ‘in this project, light also acquires a special meaning.’ when viewed from above, it becomes clear that the maze-like layout of rooms is connected by a dome of illumination, which leads guests around the museum. meanwhile, the amount of light entering each patio varies according to the exhibit’s necessary requirements.

the MIB occupies a prominent UNESCO world heritage site




the third rule stated that the museum must remain environmentally responsible, establishing a strong relationship with nature. the building is located in a park that, for the past four years, has devised programs focusing on the interaction between humans and nature. ‘citizens can wander around this pleasant park while deepening their understanding of the environment,’ state the architects. ‘we want to create a similar relationship to nature in the museum. the idea of a museum with light wells and fluid spaces that exhibit baroque art, emphasizing the dialogue between nature and man is complemented by a technological proposal.’ taking advantage of puebla’s constant climate, the museum employs a system that utilizes external air to reduce energy load.

the building’s design seeks to translate the international baroque movement




the building, which reaches a maximum height of 19.52 meters, is easily viewed from the two passing streets. framing the main façade of the museum, a large public plaza has been designed to welcome visitors. the square includes a passenger drop-off point for buses and cars, information banners, a large stepped bench, and an entrance canopy that shelters guests waiting to enter the museum.

a large courtyard allows visitors to rest and congregate




externally, the structure consists of sculptural concrete walls and slabs that have been developed in collaboration with mexican company danstek who specialize in precast concrete. walls are precast on the exterior and realized in-situ on the interior. the exposed surface features a bush-hammered texture, making it easy to rectify any defects at a later date. the elevations also function as structural load-bearing walls, with a total thickness of 36 cm.

a water feature is positioned at the center of this expansive patio




internally, the MIB has two superterranean levels. exhibition spaces are primarily sited on the lower floor, while rooms related to research, education and the dissemination of baroque art are located at the storey above. upon entering the building, visitors can immediately access the museum’s exhibition areas, the auditorium, and the upper level. eight rooms and an outdoor terrace surround a courtyard where visitors are able to rest and congregate. a large fountain is positioned at the center of this expansive patio. meanwhile, administrative offices are located at the upper level overlooking the park.

exhibition spaces are primarily located on the lower floor

upon entering the building, visitors can immediately access the upper level

the central courtyard softly illuminated at dusk

the structure consists of sculptural concrete walls and slabs

a large body of water surrounds the museum’s dynamic façade



project info:


name: museo internacional del barroco
location: vía atlixcáyotl, reserva territorial atlixcáyotl, puebla, méxico
program: museum with 8 permanent exhibition halls including one adjacent hall for special and temporary exhibitions, 3 exhibition halls for temporary special exhibitions, auditorium, international baroque salon, educational link, specialized library, area for cultural diffusion, shop, restaurant, offices, restoration workshop, storage spaces, museum services
site area: 5ha, situated inside the metropolitan park
building area: 18,149 sqm
total cost (including museography): 1,742 million mexican pesos
start of construction: september 2014
inauguration date: february 4, 2016
promoter: the state of puebla and the federal government of mexico
concessioner and contractor: constructores del museo barroco s.a. de C.V.
architectural project: toyo ito & associates, architects
local architect: federico bautista alonso
museography: miguel ángel fernández villar


coordination and design development phase: toyo ito & associates, architects and estudio arquitectura S.A. de C.V.
teams: toyo ito, yoko izumi, takeo higashi, shuichi kobari, makoto fukuda, nils becker, takayuki ohara martínez, kota tamaki, yuta martínez ono, adrià clapés i nicolau.
federico bautista alonso, gardi albrecht,  armando mauleón bonilla,  alejandro bribiesca ortega


coordination and construction drawing phase: toyo ito & associates, architects and estudio arquitectura S.A. de C.V.
teams: toyo ito, yoko izumi, takeo higashi, shuichi kobari, makoto fukuda, nils becker, takayuki ohara martínez, kota tamaki, yuta martínez ono, adrià clapés i nicolau, carlos gonzález acedo
alejandro bribiesca ortega, miriam carrada legaria, daniel rosas ortiz, erika carral gonzález


building site supervision: toyo ito & associates, architects and estudio arquitectura S.A. de C.V.
teams: toyo ito, yoko izumi, takeo higashi, shuichi kobari, nils becker, takayuki ohara martínez, kota tamaki, yuta martínez ono, mariana ramírez escoto, luis alberto hidalgo miranda
alejandro bribiesca ortega, miriam carrada legaria, aneli xochitemo pérez, nancy andrea díaz muñoz, natalia mora priego


structural engineers: SAPS (mutsuro sasaki, toshiaki kimura) / SC3 (ing. ernesto lira)
mechanical engineers: AKF de méxico
lighting design: artec 3 (maurici ginés, mariel fuentes)
signage and corporate image: identity design S.L. (tomo iida)
furniture: fujie kazuko atelier
natural lighting study: bioàmbit, enginyeria bioclimàtica (carles guillén amigó, ivan pérez carretero)
landscape architecture: tada arquitectos (antonio cesar lópez willars)
communication: guillermo eguiarte
construction system: danstek (rafael barona & sergio álvarez)
museography: miguel ángel fernández villar, rené ponce de león velázquez, ángel rodrigo torres pineda, luis manuel miranda muñoz, patricia castro pérez, cynthia nidia vasco chávez, ana paola castillo rojas, ricardo garcía govea, lilia dairen rivero silva, ana paola albert fernández, fernando edmundo rodriguez-miaja, luis gerardo morales moreno, regina gómez zamarripa, rosa dopazo durán, luis manuel rodríguez valencia, ricardo gerardo, miranda pérez, sergio rentería, rosaura salas cano, ana lanzagorta cumming, juan manuel corrales calvo, silvia montes rodríguez, anel punzo díaz, emilio montemayor anaya

  • What a beautiful building. That courtyard, though? If only the same level of design ambition and elegance had been given to the landscape. It looks incomplete.

    Reif says:
  • exquisite

    dbkii says:
  • Beautiful design although I would call it modern instead of baroque. Courtyard is very austere and could use some life.

    Bonnie Alexander says:

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