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The Dali Museum: Exceptional Architecture in St. Petersburg Florida

Javic Homes visits the new Dali Museum.

By Lana Bingham

Last Thursday, March 29, the Javic Homes team took a field trip to the renowned Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. The trip was mainly intended to give us greater insight into the building and design elements of the newly renovated museum, but we certainly got more than we bargained for.

With the largest Dali collection outside of Spain, the museum is home to art, culture and impeccable architecture. No detail was spared in the creation of the new museum, which was built to protect Dali’s masterpieces from Florida’s extreme weather conditions. Able to withstand a category 5 hurricane producing 165mph winds, the building itself rests in the heart of downtown, overlooking Tampa Bay.

The 18-inch thick walls are made of cast-in-place concrete, with one side of the building resembling a large glass bubble, which symbolizes the glass burial that Dali was laid to rest in. The geodesic dome is made up of over 1,000 panes of 1.5-inch double-layered glass, with each individual pane being unique in size. This free-form structure was created using edge-clamped glass with no support columns needed.

Inside the museum, the art gallery is located on the third floor, further protected by storm shutters hovering above the room’s entrance. Dali’s many paintings adorn the walls. His best works are placed underneath UV filtering skylight windows, allowing natural lighting to display the priceless paintings.

From a building perspective, the cylindrical staircase located in the center of the museum was by far the most interesting design element. The metal and concrete staircase ascends up to the third floor gallery; its form was inspired by Dali’s obsession with spiral shapes and the double helix.

Now some may refer to Dali’s work as bizarre, drug-induced, or border-line psychotic, yet after an educational guided tour, we discovered there was much more to this enigmatic painter. With 96 distinctive oil paintings and a strange fixation with crutches, keys, clocks and a coastal fishing village in Cadaques, Spain, each work of art had a fascinating story to tell. From his beginning with impressionism to his ending in surrealism, Dali truly captures the hearts and minds of his curious audience.

The Dali Museum is certainly one of the most educational and unique buildings that Florida has to offer. As Tampa custom home builders, we greatly appreciated every detail of the building’s well-planned design elements, as well as the remarkable artistic works of Salvador Dali.

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