Studio Gang’s Expansion of the American Museum of Natural History Looks Like a Sci-Fi Landscape
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Studio Gang’s Expansion of the American Museum of Natural History Looks Like a Sci-Fi Landscape

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By Kathryn McLamb
Construction on the cavernous, concrete Gilder Center will start on June 12.

Officially known as the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, a new addition to the American Museum of Natural History in New York is set to break ground on Wednesday, June 12. After a lawsuit from a local community group delayed construction, the final design by the renowned Studio Gang Architects intends to minimize its impact on the adjacent Theodore Roosevelt Park—a principal concern for community members. 

Milford pink granite is planned for the new facade, which will face Columbus Avenue. The same granite is also used on the museum's opposing facade along Central Park West.

Milford pink granite is planned for the new facade, which will face Columbus Avenue. The same granite is also used on the museum's opposing facade along Central Park West.

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With a projected budget of $383 million, the 230,000-gross-square-foot project replaces three buildings and renovates 40,000 square feet of existing spaces. The museum’s first street-level entrance is also planned.

The five-story structure will completely connect existing galleries. New spaces will allow the museum to expand its collections in science and technology.

The five-story structure will completely connect existing galleries. New spaces will allow the museum to expand its collections in science and technology.

A vast skylight from above will brighten the central exhibition hall with its undulating arches of reinforced concrete.

A vast skylight from above will brighten the central exhibition hall with its undulating arches of reinforced concrete.

According to Studio Gang, the structural concrete interior will employ a technique that minimizes the visibility of seams or joints.

According to Studio Gang, the structural concrete interior will employ a technique that minimizes the visibility of seams or joints.

A model depicts the museum footprint within the surrounding park, both before and after construction of the new space.

A model depicts the museum footprint within the surrounding park, both before and after construction of the new space.

Approximately 80 percent of the new space is to be located within an area currently occupied by the Museum. 

Approximately 80 percent of the new space is to be located within an area currently occupied by the Museum. 

The final landscape design claims a smaller footprint within the existing park and preserves key landscape features.

The final landscape design claims a smaller footprint within the existing park and preserves key landscape features.

Although originally set to open in 2020, an updated completion date has not yet been announced. For more information and updates on the project, visit the Gilder Center online.

Related Reading: Jeanne Gang Crowned Most Influential Architect of 2019 by Time Magazine

Project Credits: 

Architect of Record: Studio Gang / @studiogang

Landscape Design: Reed Hilderbrand / @reedhilderbrand

Exhibition Design: Ralph Appelbaum Associates