STUDIO GANG’S ORGANIC VERNACULAR
An Architectural Marvel: The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation
As a new addition for the iconic American Museum of Natural History in New York, the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation is nothing short of an architectural marvel.
Designed by Chicago-based architecture firm Studio Gang, the light-filled structure sees numerous curves and crevices that make it an utmost welcoming new space. The cave-like six-storey building is tucked away from the street, starting a path of discovery and journey from street level. As a 230,000-square-foot building, it is situated on the west side of the American Museum of Natural History and presents an asymmetric floor plan complimenting its naturalist forms and pleasantly unpredictable navigation. “The architecture enhances the feeling of discovery,” says Gang, one of the founding partners who led the architectural design. “It’s really about science education, which is near and dear. It will help people discover science, at a time when science is under attack.”
At the heart of the building is the Kenneth C Griffin Exploration Atrium, its design informed by canyons and caves, with fluid and naturalist forms engineered by ARUP. Created with shotcrete, a concrete technique that is sprayed onto rebar (a method for pouring concrete foundations that sprays the wet concrete) it removes the need for formwork and allows for non-repetitive shapes — all hand-finished.
All-inclusive and uninhibited, both children and adults alike can find freedom through experiencing the space. Gang explains, “To be an architect is to extend your childhood throughout your entire life. It’s about the joy of exploring a space.”
All coming in at the design and construction price of just under half a billion dollars at USD $465m. Yet the price tag isn’t a reflection of its importance as a welcome addition that examples inclusive and generational design. Generational by way of its familiarity yet original form, where visitors of all ages and backgrounds can feel comfortable in.
Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation
American Museum of Natural History
415 Columbus Ave,
New York, NY 10024, United States
Text: Joanna Kawecki
Images: Iwan Baan