new york’s american museum of natural history (AMNH) has unveiled details of the spaces, programs, and exhibits that will be housed in the ‘gilder center’, a new building designed by studio gang. the 235,000 square-foot project includes the addition of connections to key areas within the museum’s original buildings, as well as the modernization of existing spaces. initial plans for the scheme were first revealed in november 2015, with the facility expected to open in 2020.

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the entrance to the gilder center from theodore roosevelt park
image courtesy of studio gang architects

 

 

with a projected budget of $340 million USD, AMNH’s gilder center is being designed by studio gang architects, under the leadership of jeanne gang, with exhibit design by ralph appelbaum associates, and a new portion of the adjacent theodore roosevelt park to be developed by landscape architects reed hilderbrand. recent donations have brought total fundraising for the building to more than $277 million.

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the insectarium will feature live collections of insect specimens and scientific tools
image courtesy of ralph appelbaum associates

 

 

the extension will include new exhibition and learning spaces with state-of-the-art technology and access to the museum’s renowned collections, as well as laboratories for advanced research. it will also expand access to a broader range of the institution’s resources for students, teachers, and families, offering new opportunities for a wide range of audiences. importantly, the gilder center will spotlight insects, a new area of in-depth focus for the museum. educational facilities will be transformed, with approximately 75% of the classrooms to be either new or completely renovated.

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the butterfly vivarium will feature a variety of opportunities to encounter live butterflies
image courtesy of ralph appelbaum associates

 

 

at the heart of the scheme, the ‘collections core’ is a 21,000 square-foot, glass-walled complex that serves as a vast resource for the museum. here, displays illustrate AMNH’s work in discovering and describing biological diversity. an insectarium forms the museum’s first gallery specifically dedicated to insects in more than 50 years, while above, an approximately 3,000 square-foot butterfly vivarium provides a year-round living exhibit, doubling the space of the existing butterfly conservatory.

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the next-generation classrooms serve grades 5 through 8
image courtesy of ralph appelbaum associates

 

 

the gilder center’s central exhibition hall opens onto theodore roosevelt park, and flows through the museum to create a connection from central park west to columbus avenue. the building’s interior will be made of sprayed structural concrete, while the west façade will be clad in milford pink granite. the stone will be organized into pieces of varying widths and courses over the undulating facade, creating a distinct pattern that evokes geological layering. the design will be built largely within the existing museum space, prioritizing re-use and minimizing the need for new construction.

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the five-storey high, 21,000-square-foot, glass-walled collections core
image courtesy of ralph appelbaum associates

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a model of the design for the ‘richard gilder center for science, education, and innovation’
image © AMNH/d. finnin

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