The Panama Puente de Vida is a Museum of Biodiversity dedicated to explaining the geological and ecological story of Panama as a means to conserve and protect the country’s rich natural resources. Located in Amador, a region outside of Panama City that once served as the base for the US Armed Forces, the project is situated at the tip of a peninsula that overlooks Panama City and the Bay of Panama to the north, and the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal to the south.
The Panama Puente de Vida Museo is comprised of three main elements: the museum building, the exhibit design, and the surrounding park, in total, these elements contribute to tell the story of the project. The exterior architectural language of the museum is designed to express the individual building program elements as well as the galleries and exhibits within. At the heart of the project is a public outdoor atrium covered by colorful metal canopies designed to protect visitors from frequent wind driven rains. Surrounding the central atrium, visitors have access to un-ticketed public areas, including the retail store, café, and temporary exhibit space, as well as the two main ticketed exhibition wings of the building. The atrium level, elevated one floor above the surrounding grade, allows for extended views to the canal and city in addition to creating a protected outdoor exhibition space below which connects the two exhibition wings.
The exhibition design, conceived collaboratively with Bruce Mau Design, is intended to educate visitors about the unique environments of Panama and its conservation efforts. Included in the various galleries are stories that will introduce visitors to the concept of biodiversity, immerse them in all of the environments of Panama, and describe its geological and natural history. The exhibits will also convey how these natural forces have affected man, and the importance of the interconnectivity of life to the survival of all plant and animal species.
The museum park, designed in collaboration with landscape architect Edwina Von Gal, expands the narrative described from the interior exhibits into the surrounding landscape. Located intermittently around the park are education stations that augment the visitor’s experience of the museum through illustrating real life interaction between local plant and animal species. Because of the civic nature of the museum’s exterior atrium, the park is designed as a publicly accessible space and place of respite for local visitors.
Terry Bell - Project Manager
Bill Childers - Project Architect
Anand Devarajan - Project Designer
Elmer Barco - Project Team
EXECUTIVE ARCHITECT: Ensitu, S.A.
Patrick Dillon - Project Manager / Architect
Brenda Goti - Architect
Zitta Pozo - Architect
Claudia Gomez - Architect
Oscar Ramirez - Structural Engineer
Jorge Kiamco - Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
LANDSCAPE DESIGN: Edwina Von Gal
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Inc.
MECHANICAL ENGINEER: Don C. Gilmore and Associates
MECHNICAL CONSULTANT: Rosenberg Associates
LIGHTING CONSULTANT: Lightswitch Architectural
AQUARIUM LIFE SUPPORT: T.A. Maranda Consultants, Inc.
ACOUSTICAL CONSULTANT: Cerami and Associates
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