St. Pete To Unveil New Dali On 1/11/11

Have you picked your Dali do yet? What about your scarf? And your shoes?

With only weeks to go, partygoers and museum patrons are abuzz about all the hoopla surrounding the Jan. 11, 2011 official opening of a brand new Dali Museum just eight blocks north of its current location in St. Petersburg. Its new address? One Dali Boulevard. But you can't miss it. It's the only building of its kind in North America.

The outside architecture of the new Salvador Dali Museum boasts more than 900 triangular-shaped glass panels, each one unique in form. Together, they reflect the play of light and color that comprise St. Pete's waterfront. The geodesic glass structure is patterned after the dome featured in Dalí's Teatro Museo in Figueres, Spain, designed by Buckminster Fuller. A waterfront garden features a labyrinth.

The new space is twice the size of the former museum, and is designed to protect the artwork housed there from hurricane-force winds. The collection will also double in size.

Interior features were inspired by Dali's work and include a helical staircase, which reaches to the third floor galleries. According to a statement issued by the museum, Dali used the helix in his artwork as a metaphor for nature's innate divinity. The new space also houses classrooms, a student gallery, a theater and a cafe.

The new building was designed by HOK Architect Yann Weymouth, design director for HOK's Florida office. He says the guiding philosophy was very simple.

"The museum sits on this beautiful waterfront," he says. "So the art needs to be protected from hurricane winds. So the design is really a duality between strong, solid form and an almost liquid, transparent design. The main structure is composed of concrete wall, and then bursting out rather gleefully is the geodesic glass design."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Yan Weymouth, HOK Architects

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