Studio Gang's American Museum of Natural History extension breaks ground after delay caused by lawsuit

We uncovered a way to vastly improve visitor circulation and museum functionality
– Jeanne Gang

Construction of the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation at the American Museum of Natural History in New York has begun, following delays caused by a lawsuit brought by a community group.

The hotly anticipated new wing of the museum – a projected US$383m (€338m, £301m), 230,000sq ft (70,104sq m) project – has been designed by Studio Gang Architects, with the intention of improving visitor circulation to better accommodate the museum's rising annual attendance, which is now around five million.

The design connects existing galleries within the museum and provides it with its first street-level entrance, while also minimising impact on the adjacent Theodore Roosevelt Park – a foremost concern for members of the local community.

A central exhibition hall will form a continuous, flowing experience, with visitors moving beneath and across connecting bridges and along sculpted walls, with openings that reveal the museum's many programmes. Creative tools will enable visitors to gain a deeper understanding of how science is conducted today.

Inside the Gilder Center will have a five-storey Collections Core housing millions of specimens and artifacts from the museum's collection, together with an Insectarium, a Butterfly Vivarium that is double the space of the existing butterfly conservatory, and the Invisible Worlds Immersive Theater, showcasing cutting-edge scientific technologies.

Studio Gang founder Jeanne Gang commented: "We uncovered a way to vastly improve visitor circulation and museum functionality, while tapping into the desire for exploration and discovery that is so emblematic of science and also such a big part of being human.

"Upon entering the space, natural daylight from above and sightlines to various activities inside invite movement through the Central Exhibition Hall on a journey toward deeper understanding."

The building was originally set to open in 2020, but an updated completion date has not yet been announced.

You can read CLAD's interview with Jeanne Gang here.

Richard Gilder Center for Science  Education and Innovation  American Museum of Natural History  Studio Gang  Studio Gang Architects  Jeanne Gang 
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