- The board of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City has approved a design, by architect Jeanne Gang, for its $325 million, 218,000-square-foot expansion and will demolish three existing buildings to accommodate the new space, while limiting how much it uses of an adjacent park, according to The New York Times. View renderings of the design here.
- The cave-like, cavernous interior design for the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation is reminiscent of the Flintstones' town of Bedrock, according to The Times, while the exterior, in stark contrast to the existing museum buildings, features a curved glass and stone design.
- The museum has been under fire from New York City residents who are protesting any use of Theodore Roosevelt Park, which runs alongside the museum. Designers considered residents’ concerns and minimized use of the park to approximately a quarter of an acre and will replace any lost trees and benches, according to The Times.
In addition to reducing impact on the park, the height of the addition will not exceed the existing cornice line. Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan borough president, told The Times the museum board had been responsive to the height and volume issues. "They heard that we want as little of the park as possible to be the footprint," she said.
An integral feature of the new design is its creation of "30 connections at multiple levels across 10 buildings"” which will reduce the number of visitors who get lost and will eliminate dead ends.
The museum has raised more than half of its fundraising goal for the extension so far, according to museum President Ellen Futter, and contributions from the city and state totals almost $50 million.
The next step is to present the design to neighborhood groups and gain public approval, including that of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Futter told the Times the expansion is a response to "a crisis in science education in this country" and believes the museum has a responsibility to prepare New York City schoolchildren for careers in science.