The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) has unveiled the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, a six story, 218,000 square foot, $325 million expansion, at Columbus Avenue and 79th Street, designed by Jeanne Gang. The principal of New York– and Chicago-based Studio Gang stated that the exuberant organic forms recall “geological canyons, glacial forms,” spaces shaped in increments by the forces of nature. Here, form follows function: the aim of the Gilder Center is to build scientific literacy in young people and encourage study in the STEM fields.
Interior, looking west to Theodore Roosevelt Park (Courtesy Studio Gang)
In addition to creating learning spaces, the structure reconciles the museum’s rambling circulation, creating 30 connections to ten AMNH buildings. Its mass dialogues with the existing buildings, maintaing the same height as its neighbors.Elevation and connections to existing buildings (Courtesy Studio Gang)
Inside, cavities in the concrete walls create exhibition galleries, a library, insect hall, classrooms, theaters, and laboratories. The reinforced concrete walls in the Central Exhibition Hall comprise the building’s load-bearing apparatus. Exhibition designs are by Ralph Appelbaum Associates (New York).Facade at 79th and Columbus, wintertime (Courtesy Studio Gang)
The expansion will be complete by late 2019 or early 2020, although the design has yet to undergo the public approval process. Neighbors have raised concerns about the museum’s encroachment onto adjacent Theodore Roosevelt Park. AMNH will present its plans to community groups and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. See the gallery below for additional images of the project.