Making the Museum: the Edward Durell Stone Building

The Museo de Arte de Ponce lives within a work of art: its landmark building by Edward Durell Stone, one of the twentieth century’s most unconventional architects. To celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, our exhibition Making the Museum charts the evolution of Stone’s design through a selection of architectural drawings never before shown together in public. The exhibition opened to the public on March 13, 2016.

Shortly after founding the Museum in 1959, Luis A. Ferré saw the need to build a new structure to house the fast-growing collection, for which he contacted the renowned architect Edward Durell Stone (1902-1978). The new building opened to the public in 1965, and soon received international acclaim and a design prize from the American Institute of Architects. The building itself, as well as the drawings made by the architect in developing the project, may well be regarded as works of art in their own right.

The exhibition reunited drawings, plans, photographs and a sound recording from the Luis A. Ferré Historical Archive and showed the project’s initial designs with material from the Edward Durell Stone Papers in the library of the University of Arkansas. The exhibition presented a compelling visual account of the process of designing and building the Museum, providing a glimpse into the mind of the architect and the challenges posed by the project to build Puerto Rico’s first museum. The exhibition was accompanied by a brief illustrated publication and a program of workshops, lectures, and other educational activities.