Latinas make history again.
The Met Museum has chosen 42-year-old Mexican architect Frida Escobedo to design its new $500 million modern and contemporary art wing, the museum announced in a press release.
The appointment marks a milestone in history, with Escobedo being one of the youngest architects to be commissioned for the task and the first woman ever to design a wing in the historic institution.
“I like challenges,” she said in a telephone interview from her home in Mexico City with The New York Times. “One of the dream commissions for any architect is to design an institution with the importance and relevance of the Met.”
Born in 1979, Frida Escobedo studied architecture at the Universidad Iberoamericana and earned a master’s degree in Art, Design, and the Public Domain from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Escobedo founded her own architecture and design studio in 2006 in Mexico City and is known for creating temporary and interactive works within an overall theme of time rather than a historical context.
She has been a professor at the Universidad Iberoamericana since 2007 and taught at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the London Architectural Association School of Architecture.
In 2018, Frida Escobedo became the youngest architect to work on the Serpentine Pavilion, her design being chosen by the Serpentine Gallery’s artistic director, Hans Ulrich Obrist.
Her other notable projects include the expansion of La Tallera Siqueiros in Cuernavaca (2012), Mexico, a museum, workshop, and artist’s residence that was the home and studio of muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. She also designed the renovation of the Boca Chica Hotel (2008), a popular destination for Hollywood celebrities in the 1950s, and the El Eco Pavilion (2010), a site-specific installation designed for the El Eco Experimental Museum.
Now, her design for the Met will be her largest cultural project to date.
As she told the Times, the young architect does not yet have a design in mind. However, she did say that it was “important for it to connect to the rest of the museum, to connect with the park, to connect with the city and also to represent the cultural diversity of New York.”
While Escobedo’s appointment is a significant accomplishment for women of color, the museum’s president and CEO, Daniel H. Weiss, told the Times that this did not influence the decision.
“It’s great that she brings diversity,” he said, “but that wasn’t a criterion in the choice.”
Weiss added that Escobedo was the right person to design “a signature building that speaks to the art of our time” and that he expected the project to be completed in about seven years.