I recently collected these job site photos after wanting to check in on the progress of the new Morphosis designed Nature & Science building myself. My daughter Kate and I had just spent the day knocking about in the current Museum of Nature & Science down in Fair Park and there was an exhibit on display focused on the new building. Kate wasn’t all that interested in it but she was a good sport about letting me wander around the displays. Afterwards, I thought others would probably like to see where things are at as well. Dallas is beyond having a few interesting and notable buildings; if you are an architecture fan and you haven’t come to Dallas, you are missing out in a very big way.
On November 18, 2009, the Museum of Nature & Science broke ground on a world-class, state-of-the-art museum at Victory Park in Downtown Dallas, which will supplement the Museum’s existing programming and operations at Fair Park. The $185-million museum will be named the Perot Museum of Nature & Science. Here are some fast facts about the new museum that The Dallas Morning News architecture critic Scott Cantrell called “the boldest piece of modern architecture to hit Dallas.”
Site Area: 4.7 Acres
Building Size: 180,000 gross square feet
Estimated Construction Dates: 2010 – 2013
Estimated Construction Cost: $185 million (includes site acquisition, exhibition planning and design, construction of the new building, education programs and an endowment)
- The design features an overall building mass conceived as a large cube floating over a landscaped plinth (roof).
- The landscape consists of an acre of rolling roofscape comprised of rock and native drought-resistant grasses reflecting Texas’s indigenous landscape and demonstrates a living system that will evolve naturally over time.
- A significant feature is the 54-foot continuous-flow escalator contained in a 150-foot glass-enclosed tube-like structure that dramatically extends outside the building.
- A large urban plaza – complete with cafe tables, seating and water features – will be available for gatherings and public events.
- The building itself will be used as a “living” example of engineering, sustainability and technology at work.
- Five floors of public space – approximately 80 percent of the building, which is a remarkably high degree – is devoted for public usage.
- Expansive glass-enclosed lobby and adjacent outdoor terrace with downtown view.
- 10 permanent exhibition halls including a children’s museum and outdoor playspace/courtyard.
- State-of-the-art traveling exhibition gallery designated to host world-class exhibitions.
- Ground-level exhibit workshops surrounded by large windows making workshop activity accessible for public viewing.
- Education wing equipped with six learning labs.
- Large-format, multi-media digital cinema with seating for 300.
- Flexible-space auditorium
- Public café and retail store
- Exhibit workshops visible from the ground level
- Offices for museum staff
- The building and the outdoor areas will be used as “a dynamic science lesson and living lab” providing provocative examples of engineering, technology and conservation.
- A rain-water collection system will capture run-off from the roof and parking lot to fill two 25,000-gallon cisterns, which will satisfy all non-potable water needs.
I enjoyed running around the outside of the site taking these photos and I am excited to see how the building will ultimately sit on the undulating base. It was difficult to not “accidentily” wander onto the jobsite and take a closer look at things … but this is a pretty serious jobsite and jail would not have been out of the question if I had slipped inside.
I don’t do that sort of thing anymore … not unless I want to violate the conditions of my parole (kidding).