New museum in the old presidencia
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
Local administration recently presented plans for converting the former city hall building into a contemporary art museum with recreational and open areas for sanmiguelenses and visitors.
Although the dates for beginning and completing work on this project were not revealed, on Thursday, May 29, the idea for remodeling the building was presented by architect Enrique Norten, known for such New York buildings as the Hotel Americano, Clinton Park, One York Street and Cassa Hotel.
According to Norten, this will be an organically designed building, and he made it clear to representatives of the INAH (National Institute of Anthropology and History) that they will not move a single stone of the original construction; the colonial architecture will be merged with contemporary design.
Norten said that in the building, located at Plaza Principal 4, there will be an amphitheater to be used for a wide variety of events. Under the amphitheater will be a salon with a capacity for 50 people to show experimental films and other videos.
The new museum will also encompass the area formerly used as the municipal jail, currently occupied by the Tourism Council. It will also include galleries “that will attract the best exhibitions of art from around the world,” said Norten. According to the presented plans, the rooftop of the old city hall will be opened as a sculpture garden and will have a cafeteria or a bar with the best panoramic view of the city.
Mayor Mauricio Trejo acknowledged that the idea was an initiative of María José Garrido, director of Tourism, Economic Development and International Affairs. Trejo stated that the building, when his administration began on October 10, 2012, was used as a storehouse for unused items. “It was the best located and most expensive warehouse in the world,” he said. For that reason they decided to start working on a project to recover it. “This will be the best museum of contemporary art in Latin America,” he said. Trejo said that the project will cost 40 million pesos, and currently they have half of the money. He expects the renovation to be completed before the end of his administration on October 9, 2015.
Fernando Olivera, secretary of touristic development for Guanajuato, supported the project and said that this museum will be another justification for San Miguel’s having been named the best city in the world by Condé Nast Traveler’s readers.