museo jumex completes in mexico city - david chipperfield interview
museo jumex completes in mexico city - david chipperfield interview museo jumex completes in mexico city - david chipperfield interview
nov 18, 2013

museo jumex completes in mexico city - david chipperfield interview

the museo jumex in mexico city designed by david chipperfield architects is the fundación jumex arte contemporáneo’s new exhibition platform. located in plaza carso, polanco it will be home to the largest private contemporary art collection in latin america.


the museum includes 1,600 square meters of exhibition space that will allow the foundation to offer expanded academic and educational programming aimed at those interested in contemporary art. it’s built on a 2,500 m2 lot, the museum is distributed across five floors that incorporate two levels designated as exhibition spaces, a level for educational and academic programs, a bookstore, a café and the foundation’s headquarters.

david chipperfield at museo jumex in mexico city
photo courtesy of nadine johnson



the museo jumex will open its doors tomorrow (november 19, 2013) designboom spoke to british architect david chipperfield to learn more:


DB: what were your aims at the start of the project?


DC: you have several responsibilities with a project like this. there’s the program and the purpose of the building with regards to the client’s aspirations. here, the ambition was to create an appropriate building for jumex because its previous setting was informal and the new setting is institutional. the question was always – ‘how does a foundation like this present itself to the public? –  what type of space works best for the art?  how does it relate to the city? then you also have to consider how to do a project in mexico, how to optimize the light, make it suited to the climate and so on – it’s a case of putting all those things together. from the beginning I was very interested in the fact that mexico city has a climate that allows you to explore the possibilities of opening and closing a building in a much more radical way than you could in northern europe for instance.

photo by rene catalan foglia



DB: did any existing museums influence the design?


DC: we’ve been working on museums for over fifteen years now, so yes, we have developed a series of prejudices, concerns and criteria for how we think about these spaces but of course the site always asks different questions of you. with these type of spaces I’m very interested in using natural light as much as possible. in this case it was quite a difficult site because it’s dwarfed by much taller buildings around it, so we knew that it had to have character, a strong personality – the roof of the jumex museum provides light and character.

photo by rene catalan foglia



DB: what was the biggest challenge of the project?


DC: with this project the urban context was not very clear. on one side of the site you have a road and the other a train track. it’s triangular which is not easy to work with and our first proposals were quite weak in the context of the location. we soon realized that the building had to have a strong, singular identity, which we think the finished building has.

photo by rene castelan foglia



DB: on this type of project how closely do you work with museum curators or directors?


DC:  curators come an go and so do curatorial trends so you work more closely with the directors and try to understand their vision. eugenio lopez had a very clear idea of the type of space he wanted. he wanted a big space to show the art this ended up being the top floor, which it is complimented by smaller spaces on the subsequent floors that are very flexible in terms of what the curators can do with them.

roof detail
photo by rene castelan foglia



DB: how do you feel about the end result?


DC: we are very happy. the process has been good. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from mexican construction quality but we’ve achieved as good a standard as anywhere. there was no big issues with the project and I’m very happy with the material and physical result. the spaces are good and everyone’s happy with them. we’re especially pleased with how the ground floor turned out – it’s a space where the change from outside to inside happens subtly but also has a lot of personality and it’s well suited to the corner location. now we’re looking forward to see how the public react to the museum.

ground floor and first floor views
photos by michel jean philippe

staircase viewed from ground floor
photo © designboom

staircase from top floor
photo by michel jean philippe

museo jumex signage
photo © designboom

second floor exhibition space
photo by michel jean philippe

top floor exhibition space
photo by michel jean philippe

a view of the exhibition ‘un lugar en dos dimensiones’ which is now on show on the museums top floor

more views of ‘un lugar en dos dimensiones’

‘un lugar en dos dimensiones’



museo jumex
the museum will be open from november 19th 2013,
tuesday through friday, 11am-8pm;
saturday, 10am-8pm;
sunday, 10am-7pm.
admission $30 MXN for adults, $15 MXN for students and teachers, free for seniors and children under 15.


inaugural programming
a place in two dimensions: a selection from colección jumex + fred sandback, an exhibition curated by patrick charpenel; james lee byars: 1⁄2 an autobiography, an exhibition organized in conjunction with moma ps1, curated by magalí arriola and peter eleey; cosmogonía doméstica [domestic cosmogony] by damián ortega and curated by rosario nadal, a piece commissioned for the museum’s front patio; and the presentation of las ideas de gamboa, an editorial project by mauricio marcin.

rendering of the museum by david chipperfield architects
image courtesy of the architect

initial sketch by david chipperfield
image courtesy of the architect

section of the museum
image courtesy of david chipperfield architects

ground floor plan
image courtesy of david chipperfield architects


first floor plan
image courtesy of david chipperfield architects


second floor plan
image courtesy of david chipperfield architects



third (top) floor plan
image courtesy of david chipperfield architects

  • as always, I like the detail work a great deal but in this case the overall form doesn’t do it for me – its kinda like Hejduk on a bad day

    dbkii says:
  • I like this very much. The program and urban context inform the introspective design approach to planning. Very simple and clear counterpoint statement with impeccable use of materials and detailing customary with this architect.

    mArkW says:

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