Ever since Gehry's Bilbao Guggenheim opened, the museum scene turned into a world of crazy starchitect one-upmanship, with lots of flash and not a lot of sustainability. Childrens' museums are a little less flashy and more green; the Brooklyn Children's Museum by Rafael Vinoly is LEED Silver, and the brand new Madison Children Museum will likely top that.
They start their green pitch with a quote from Richard Moe: "The greenest building is the one that already exists" and start their museum with a 1929 Montgomery Wards store.
They also go seriously local, with their choice of architects (Kubala Washatko) who specified nartural, non-toxic, locally harvested materials, even recycling a gym floor from a Milwaukee high school. According to the press release, the museum "focuses on sustainablity from inside out."
By building innovative exhibits using natural fabrics and recycled materials, tackling indoor air quality and instituting green incentives for employees, the new building takes a local approach to ecological design.
"With our emphasis on local people, products, and processes that involve the community, Madison Children's Museum creates a unique sense of place that appeals to adults as well as children," said Ruth Shelly, executive director, Madison Children's Museum.
They are not kidding about recycling; they have rebuilt a log cabin from the 1830s at the rear. But the real show is the "Rooftop Ramble" with a green roof, solar panels, rainwater harvesting and a chicken coop. Its focus: sustainable living, agriculture and culture.
Love the modernist chicken coop. Also the attitude to green:
The Green Throughout sustainability initiative is designed to raise awareness of the museum's sustainability efforts in order to inspire individuals, families, and businesses to adopt similar green measures of their own.
We could use a bit more of that. More at Madison Childrens' Museum and lots of pix on Flickr.
More on Green Museums:
Brooklyn Children's Museum by Rafael Vinoly
David Adjaye's Museum of Contemporary Art Denver
Renzo Piano's Green Museum in San Francisco
It's a Mammoth Museum by Leeser for Yakutsk