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Pritzker Prize winner reveals Museum of Nature & Science plans for Dallas

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Pritzker Prize winner reveals Museum of Nature & Science plans for Dallas

| architect, architecture critic, Landscape Architecture, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings | September 18, 2009

From our friends at ArchitectureNews.com

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Thom Mayne has revealed his dramatic design for the new $185 million Perot Museum of Nature and Science at Victory Park in Dallas with groundbreaking due this Autumn. Described as a “living educational tool featuring architecture inspired by nature and science,” the new facility designed by his firm, Morphosis, will provide 180,000 sq ft of display and archive space on a 4.7 acre site just north of downtown Dallas.

“Museums, armatures for collective societal experience and cultural expression, present new ways of interpreting the world,” said Mayne. “They contain knowledge, preserve information and transmit ideas; they stimulate curiousity, raise awareness and create opportunities for exchange. As instruments of education and social change, museums have the potential to shape our understanding of ourselves and the world in which we live.

“The new Perot Museum of Nature & Science in Victory Park will create a distinct identity for the Museum, enhance the institution’s prominence in Dallas and enrich the city’s evolving cultural fabric.”

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At 170 ft and 14 stories high the structure presents itself as a cube structure atop a plinth. Working to a theme of ‘nature in an urban fabric’ its roof alone offers one acre of rolling native landscape featuring all the native flora and fauna of Texas and including a large urban plaza for events. Surrounding the building too landscape design, created in conjunction with Dallas-based Talley Associates, brings together science and technology with nature acting as an extension of the building design. The two are so integrated that, to mention one example, the parking lot is used to generate energy to power water features (post-rain).

80% of the building will be open to the public (an unusually high percentage) and facilities will include 10 exhibition galleries, including a children’s museum and outdoor playspace/courtyard; an expansive glass-enclosed lobby and adjacent outdoor terrace with a downtown view; state of the art exhibition gallery designated to host world-class travelling exhibitions; an education wing; large-format, multi-media digital cinema with seating for 300; flexible-space auditorium; public café; retail store; visible exhibit workshops; and offices.

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A signature design feature within the museum is a 54-foot continuous-flow escalator contained in a 150-foot tube-like structure that dramatically extends outside the building. It will take visitors from the light-filled lobby atrium to the museum’s top floor. Patrons will arrive at a fully glazed balcony high above the city, with a bird’s-eye view of downtown Dallas.

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“We believe the new Museum will provide an unforgettable experience for our visitors and help them better understand and appreciate the world we share,” said Nicole Small, President and CEO at the Museum of Nature & Science, “And our hope is that it will inspire young people – and those of any age – to pursue careers in math, science and technology.”

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About the author

After working at various design practices on a full-time and freelance basis, and starting his own design firm, David McFadden saw that there was a gap to be filled in the industry. In 1984, he created an expansive hub for architects and hiring firms to sync up, complete projects, and mutually benefit. That hub was Consulting For Architects Inc., which enabled architects to find meaningful design work, while freeing hiring firms from tedious hiring-firing cycles. This departure from the traditional, more rigid style of employer-employee relations was just what the industry needed - flexibility and adaption to modern work circumstances. David has successfully advised his clients through the trials and tribulations of four recessions – the early 80’s, the early 90’s, the early 2000’s, and the Great Recession of 2007.

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