Designed by architect Yann Weymouth of HOK, the new building combines the rational with the fantastical: a simple rectangle with 18-inch thick hurricane-proof walls out of which erupts a large free-form geodesic glass bubble known as the “enigma”. The “enigma”, which is made up of 1,062 triangular pieces of glass, stands 75 feet at its tallest point, a twenty-first century homage to the dome that adorns Dali’s museum in Spain. Inside, the Dali houses another unique architectural feature – a helical staircase – recalling Dali’s obsession with spirals and the double helical shape of the DNA molecule.
Outside on the waterfront, the Dali garden creates a unique environment of learning and tranquility. The Mathematical Garden allows students to experience the relationship between math and nature, and a labyrinth in the southeast corner invites exploration and well-being.
Visitors enter through the Dali Museum Store, featuring the largest collection of Dali-inspired merchandise in the world. A café offering Spanish-themed light fare has indoor and outdoor seating. The theater regularly shows a short film about the museum and is also the setting for concerts and lectures. Children and adults can take classes or participate in making art in the Classroom. The Raymond James Community Room is a space for conferences, weddings and other private events.
This is where scholars of Dali and the Avant-garde will do research in the museum’s extensive library. The administrative offices of the museum are located on this floor.
Galleries on the third floor. Visitors arrive at a landing with a view of the gardens and waterfront through the “enigma”. On either side of the landing are two wings of gallery space. A section of paintings are on display along with Dali’s works of other media, including surrealist objects and a selection of Dali’s prints and drawings. Student work inspired by Dali is on view in the education gallery.