Frank Gehry-designed BioMuseo opens in Panama

By Barry Neild, CNNPublished 2nd October 2014
It stands at the entrance to the Panama Canal and took longer than the waterway to build, but a brightly colored biodiversity museum designed by architect Frank Gehry has finally celebrated its official opening
BioMuseo, a 4,000-square-meter exhibition space and botanical park, has been commissioned to highlight Panama's natural wonders and its role as a geological bridge between two continents.
With its vivid appearance, BioMuseo has become a familiar sight to ships using the Canal's eastern gateway and to people using the nearby Bridge of Americas that connects to an offshore archipelago.
Although its shape is reminiscent of Gehry's earlier works -- which include landmarks such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles -- its bold color scheme is a departure.
It's Gehry's first in Latin America, despite the fact his wife is Panamanian.
Repeated delays
The museum was first conceived in 1999, but bureaucratic issues caused repeated delays, meaning it took 15 years to complete -- five more than the Canal, which opened in 1914 after a decade of construction.
Visitors to BioMuseo will pass through a series of galleries incorporating interactive dioramas, including "Panamarama" -- a three-level, 12-screen projection space intended to create an immersive rainforest experience.
Built on a former U.S. military base, the exhibition is described on the museum's website as "a combination of art and science that leads the visitor to experience a marvelous phenomenon."
BioMuseo, Building 136, Amador Causeway, Apartado, Panama City; +507 830 6700