Above: The exterior of Biomuseo, designed by Frank Gehry, in Panama City

Frank Gehry’s Biomuseo

A colorful jumble of folded shapes located on the far end of the Amador Causeway, Biomuseo stands at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. With more than 44,000 square feet of exhibition space, this unconventional free-form building has eight display rooms for permanent exhibitions related to technology, science and art. Like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the edifice is asymmetrical and includes renowned architect Frank Gehry’s trademark sloped metal canopies. In this case, an open-air atrium is encircled by two levels of galleries topped by undulating roof panels of different shapes and sizes clad in red, blue, green, yellow and orange.

The museum celebrates the history and impressive ecological diversity of Panama. The emphasis is on the cross-migration of animal and plant species that took place when the isthmus rose to create a land bridge between North and South America more than 3 million years ago. The Worlds Collide exhibition highlights the evolutionary progress of species as they struggled to adapt to new climates and environments. The impressive (and slightly dizzying) Panamarama display has 10 oversize screens that project audiovisual renderings of environmental experiences, including flying over a forest canopy, plummeting down a waterfall and swimming with sharks. I recommend setting aside enough time to stroll through the lush six-acre biodiversity park.

Join Andrew Harper today to continue reading our exclusive content.