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One of the most perfectly symmetrical times in our lifetime – 1-11-11 at 11:11 a.m. – was celebrated in St. Petersburg, Florida with the opening of a museum dedicated to surrealist artist Salvador Dali.

The museum is not new, but an expansion of the original site, which first opened in 1982. Now boasting 68,000 square feet, there is ample room for the museum’s 2,140-piece collection, which includes oils, watercolors, sketches and sculptures.

The museum was designed by Yann Weymouth, the director of design for the firm HOK in Florida. The 75-foot building is quite the work of art in itself; its exterior is comprised of 1,062 unique, triangular glass panels that form bubble domes to reflect the blue sky, and wrap around a traditional rectangular core. This design serves to reflect the flowing, larger-than-life images of Dali’s work, with the glass “Enigma,” as the designer calls it, serving the building’s life force. Its ethereal shape and texture contrasts sharply with the rough concrete core of the building, but this part was also integral to the design, as it protects the priceless works of art from hurricanes or other extreme incidents. This geometrical mass, with 18-inch thick reinforced concrete walls and a 12-inch thick roof, is referred to by the architect as the “Treasure Box.” The project cost $29.8 million.

“The flowing, free-form use of geodesic triangulation is a recent innovation enabled by modern computer analysis and digitally controlled fabrication that allows each component to be unique,” Weymouth was recently quoted by e-architect as saying. “No glass panel, structural node or strut is precisely the same. This permitted us to create a family of shapes that, while structurally robust, more closely resembles the flow of liquids in nature.”

Inside, visitors climb from the lobby to the second and third floors of gallery space via a concrete spiral staircase. Skylights and “light cannon” openings illuminate Dali’s works with natural sunlight, and green measures, such as solar collectors, also harness the sun’s rays to bring the building to life.

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