Grand Opening of the California Academy of Sciences
Today San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences re-opened in a new awe-inspiring green building. With a two-plus acre green roof resting atop a natural history museum, planetarium and rainforest, Renzo Piano's design is an incredible exploration into the meeting of art and science. More on the Academy and pictures of the new building below the fold.
Renzo Piano's design for the California Academy of Science appears to the eye as if a slice of the park has been lifted up to slip in a building below. The museum's reconstruction is part of a series of projects begun after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake caused significant damages to the building and others nearby. The reconstructions are inspired by the buildings' natural surroundings: across from the Academy rests the De Young museum, built in a copper that will green, visually melting the structure into the park as it ages.
The evocative new science building mixes classic design with modern. Under one ninety foot bulbous green dome rests the Morrison Planetarium. The other huge dome houses a rainforest with live trees, birds and butterflies. Below ground is a winding aquarium whose walls seem to built of water rather than glass.
The building's green rooftop is an exhibit in itself. At about two and a half acres, the space supports native plant life and not only regulates the building's temperature but also filters runoff. PV panels also surround the roof and will generate a percentage of the building's power.
Photo Credits: Tim Griffith