Refurbished by Bunker Arquitectura of Mexico
Internationally famous The Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros in Mexico is important, not just for its historic exhibits of mural art and contemporary fine art but also as a superb example of modern architecture in its own right.
Originally the brain child of renowned mural artist David Alfaro Siqueiros, the Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros was constructed in 1967 to house his own work along with that of Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco. This remarkable gallery space combines as a social, cultural and political resource that houses the magnificant fresco “The March of Humanity”. Initially conceived as a massive diamond form with fascinating curvilinear exhibition spaces, the gallery is totally covered in mural painting inside and out. It is considered the largest exhibition space of its kind any where in the world.
The gallery space is an exceptional example of functional modern architecture and had not been altered since 1972. So when the interior architects Bunker Arquitectura were called into refurbish this fabulous space they were taking on a huge responsibility. The alterations made were not intended to change the main structure of the modern architectural space but rather to update and enhance what already existed.
The emphasis by the design team was placed on changing the interior colours, the texture of the walls and any structural interventions were kept to a minimum. Space was opened up in the gallery and the whole finish became more streamlined and unified by the replacement of the old dark blue flooring with a white glossy epoxy surface. The dated, course textured, wall covering was changed to a sleek smooth white finish which reflected light more subtly and suitably for display purposes. Concentric rings had originally covered the whole of the suspended ceiling. To modernize the appearance, most of these were removed, just leaving two as a structural feature reflecting the original modern architectural design. A distracting transparent glass ‘wall was changed for an opaque white version to focus the visitor’s attention on the art exhibits. All the interior wooden features were sanded back to their original finish totally rejuvenating their appearance.
Historic Modern Architecture – Polyforum Siqueiros Galleries
The sole addition to the existing layout of the original modern architecture was the elliptical reception desk designed by Bunker Arquitectura. The architect’s statement explains how this highlights
“…the dynamic space of the circular galleries and invites the visitor to proceed towards the exhibition areas. Its vibrant red glossy finish, is meant to contrast with the rather mellow and tranquil space, and is also a tribute to Siqueiros´s aggressive and energetic brush strokes that characterize his art”.
Twisting and turning this is a superb example of 20th century modern architecture. The gallery space has been brought back to life with these sensitive and subtle modifications. This timeless interior looks as fresh as on the day it was first completed. Polyforum Siqueiros Galleries is bursting with new life and energy and is is totally suited to displaying its historic mural collection alongside the best examples of 21st century contemporary art.