Natural History Museum’s Expansion: Part Dr. Seuss, Part Jurassic Park

Natural history museum’s expansion: part dr. Seuss, part jurassic park
Rendering of the proposed Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation at the American Museum of Natural History / Image: Studio Gang Architects

The American Museum of Natural History recently came out with some good news — a museum expansion that for once seems as if it could work.

A year ago, the museum announced plans for the $325 million, 218,000-square-foot Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation. Jeanne Gang, founder of Studio Gang, the high-profile Chicago-based firm, won a competition to design it. She teamed with Reed Hilderbrand, the landscape architects from Cambridge, Mass.

Because no new development ever goes unchallenged on the Upper West Side, protesters raised hell, even though architects were still hunched over their drawing boards. Facing west, toward Columbus Avenue, on what’s effectively the rear end of the museum, the project threatened a serendipitous corner of Theodore Roosevelt Park. Opponents feared the project would obliterate that area’s shady allée of trees and benches.

Judith Heintz, a landscape architect, designed that spot some 15 years ago, when the museum last expanded, adding the Rose Center for Earth and Science to the north, and the Weston Pavilion, which Gilder will replace, at 79th Street. One neighborhood group, Defenders of Teddy Roosevelt Park, offered on its website a model of the current museum, with an ominous red line where the still-sight-unseen center would supposedly devour the allée.

Well, now we know more or less what the actual project looks like. It bids to be the city’s next architectural spectacle.

The museum’s trustees approved a conceptual design on Wednesday and released drawings and renderings. The project promises much more room for education, exhibitions, laboratories, the library, open storage and a live butterfly conservatory. It includes a new theater devoted to invisible worlds — meaning microscopic creatures, the human brain, the ocean depths and the edge of the universe. The proposed center also solves humdrum but critical layout problems, integrating dead-end galleries and bringing public spaces, classrooms and research together in a single, soaring, canyonlike, central hall, behind an undulating stone-and-glass facade. […]

Continue Reading – Source: NYT
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
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About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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