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Uruguay’s First Contemporary Art Museum Opens

Designed by Carlos Ott, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Atchugarry is as carefully considered as the art it holds.

By Rachel Gallaher

Rendering by Nicolás Vidal, Sur Foto

As Seen in Issue 61

A large, ark-shaped wooden building sits on a dark patch of grass. The sky is cloudy and the sun is setting.

Looking to raise Uruguay’s prominence in the global arts scene, Pablo Atchugarry—an artist known for his abstract, sculptural works—has funded the design and development of the country’s first contemporary art museum. Designed by architect Carlos Ott, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Atchugarry is an outgrowth of Fundación Pablo Atchugarry, which the artist founded 15 years ago to promote the visual arts in Uruguay. Opening in early January 2022 in Punta del Este, the museum includes an auditorium, galleries, an outdoor amphitheater, and a 99-acre sculpture park. Constructed from curvilinear concrete and timber volumes, the building has an ark-like profile—its central atrium is dominated by wood (large Uruguayan eucalyptus trees were treated, cut, and numbered in France, then shipped back to the site). The lower level houses a cinema, as well as gallery rooms with low lighting and black-painted walls—a striking contrast to the grand, open feeling of the upper levels.


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