The New Dali Museum: Sustainable and Beautiful Plus Designed to Withstand the Elements

August 27, 2011

Visitors have always traveled to St. Petersburg, Florida to experience the Dali Museum since it opened in 1980. In January of this year, 2011, the New Dali Museum opened and is receiving an exceptional response.

The doors opened 1-11-11 at 11:11am for people to enjoy an incredible art collection within a building that is its own masterpiece.

The museum was designed by Yann Weymouth of Hellmuth, Obata, and Kassabaum (HOK) Architects. They used Building Integrated Modeling (BIM) to design the elaborate and organic-shaped structure.

The permanent collection that is housed in the New Dali Museum is called “Viva la Revelacion!” and is a collection that is represented in chronological sequence showcasing Salvador Dali’s works. There are over 2000 pieces of art and 96 of Dali’s most influential oil paintings on display.

The building was specially designed with salons around the perimeter of the gallery allowing artists to paint in natural light while being inspired by the exhibit of Salvador Dali.

The museum itself gives a distinct “Dali-esque” experience to visitors with a glass atrium entitled “Enigma” that was named after a painting series of Dali’s. It is 3 stories tall and encompasses the gallery, salons and a beautiful spiral staircase.

It was also designed to withstand the elements.

The glass of the atrium is 1.5” thick, insulated and laminated and can withstand 135 mph winds in a Category 3 hurricane. The walls are 18” thick, cast-in-place concrete that can withstand 165 mph winds in a Category 5 hurricane. The roof is 12” thick concrete. The gallery is on the third floor and is protected by shutters that are built for hurricane resistance and the skylights offer not only natural light, but are tested to be hurricane resistant.

The building is more than beautiful, it is natural disaster equipped and it is an environmentally aware facility.

The concrete that was used replaced the cement in its mixture with flyash or ground granulated blast furnace slag and has 97 percent recycled steel for its rebar. The humidity in the building (which is crucial to preserving artwork) is controlled by a solar hot water dehumidification system. HOK incorporated a low energy HVAC system, low VOC materials and LED lights on the exterior of the building. The landscape is natural and local vegetation that is irrigated with reclaimed water.

The New Dali Museum by HOK offers a tribute to a remarkable artist while designing for the elements of the location it resides in, makes a low impact on the planet, uses the newest technologies in design to be a unique and creative structure and sets an example of where architecture is heading. This is truly an inspirational masterpiece and there is no better home for Salvador Dali’s, a master in fine arts, works.

Resources: Interior Design Styles, Salvador Dali, Museum Publicity, The Dali Museum, and Inhabitat


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Jennifer Shockley

Jennifer is originally from Colorado and has recently moved back from Michigan. She is finishing up her Master’s degree in Architecture. She is currently focusing on urban planning and sustainable design and hopes to gain employment at a design firm specializing in these areas. Jennifer also has writing experience serving as an editor for her school newspaper and college magazine. Jennifer has two cats named Prada and Dior-aptly named after her shoe obsession. You can follow Jennifer on twitter @jenshock81.
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