Not Science Fiction

Renzo Piano creates a master piece for the California Academy of Science and recreates the building envelope as a  multi-functional form for the museum. This single structure curves with the surrounding environments while containing multiple spaces within. This includes a four-story rainforest, the aquarium, the planetarium, and the natural history museum. There is also a roof terrace that allows the visitor to experience the rolling mounds that create this iconic roof system. This process of creating a green roof that houses natural, living plant specimens enables the building to change with its surroundings while at pivotal movement’s glass apertures direct daylight into specific areas. This design has received Platinum rating from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and is one of the largest public buildings to have this rating.

This facility is setting the benchmark on what the future of the museum, and for that matter, what the science museum will eventually become. Technology that is engaging and user-friendly allows for people to immerse themselves into experiences that may be out of reach for them. Visitors can view the most up-to-date renderings of the universe, catch virtual butterflies with a digital net, and connect their cell phone and go for an Academy-wide scavenger hunt. The use of technology within these facilities will transform and reshape these spaces, as well as the next generation of visitors that will in turn be designing the future of museums.

This building reaches out to such a large audience and this must be noted of how hitting target areas can ultimately leave you with an award winning museum. The California Academy of Science has a modern architectural form and in many cases, having a building designed by a famous architect will, inevitable bringing fame to the structure. Introducing new and up-to-date technology that targets a wide range of age groups can turn a traditional exhibition observation time of 25 seconds to one that reaches close to the 3 to 4 minute marker. In this day and age, new generations are learning to use technology at a younger age making digital media production, multimedia displays, technology platforms, and interactive gaming the cutting edge in how learning will be taught. Another great design accomplishment is introducing living specimens to embed greater understanding and knowledge to the viewer. The California Academy of Science also has an extensive library that serves both a pubic function, but mainly for the scientists at the academy.

Please take a moment to investigate this museum, as this is the future.

(Stephen Kayes)

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