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Architect Jeanne Gang, from Studio Gang, has unveiled plans for a geologically-inspired extension to the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
If you buy the premise of feisty walking-talking exhibits in the movie Night at the Museum, the future Gilder Center at New York’s American Museum of Natural History will provide ample space for Teddy Roosevelt, Attila the Hun, dinosaurs, African mammals—and patrons—to roam freely.
Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Studio Gang’s proposal for the Guilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation calls for a 218,000-square-foot addition (20,252 square metres) to the American Museum of Natural History. Curving forms created by structural concrete bands will bend from the inside out, and will be clad in stone on the exterior.
These sculpted geological canyons and glacial formations (which functionally reinforce the building’s interior weight) are reminiscent of the natural wonders at Utah’s Arches National Park. All that’s missing is dust, wind and a spectacular sunset. This new complex will represent the new beating heart of the entire museum, linking 10 separate buildings.
Chicago-based Studio Gang’s proposed expansion modernizes and opens up the American Museum of Natural History—improving traffic flow and fabricating a more magical experience for tourists, architecture aficionados, natural history lovers, movie buffs and perhaps even spelunkers. The design showcases a sun-drenched Central Exhibition Hall (with a seven-story atrium) in the form of undulating cement walls, niche caves housing exhibits, and connective sky bridges from which patrons can walk across, beneath or merely use for serenading from above or below.
“We uncovered a way to vastly improve visitor circulation and museum functionality, while tapping into the desire for exploration and discovery that are emblematic of science and also part of being human,” said Studio Gang founder Jeanne Gang.
“Upon entering the space, natural daylight from above and sightlines to various activities inside invite movement through the Central Exhibition Hall on a journey towards deeper understanding. The architectural design grew out of the museum’s mission,” she added.
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