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The Gilder Centre, New York has opened

Above: Richard Gilder Center at dusk (designed by Studio Gang / image courtesy Iwan Baan)

New York's Richard Gilder Centre designed to encourage a better understanding of science has now opened. The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation is the latest addition to New York’s historic American Museum of Natural History, and has been designed by Studio Gang.

The Museum states:

'At a time of urgent need for better public understanding of science and greater access to science education, the Gilder Center is designed to amplify the intellectual impact of the Museum with experiential architecture that encourages exploration—drawing in people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to share the excitement of scientific discovery and learning about the natural world.

'Conceived from the inside-out, the design vastly improves functionality and visitor experience for the entire Museum campus. Establishing a new, fully accessible entrance at Columbus Avenue and a strong east-west axis, the project creates more than thirty connections among ten different buildings, replacing former dead ends with continuous loops. Providing new exhibition, education, collections, and research spaces, the Gilder Center also brings essential yet previously back-of-house functions into public view for the first time, giving visitors new insight into the full breadth of the Museum’s diverse collections and active scientific research.

'Natural form-making processes informed the architecture. Akin to a porous geologic formation shaped by the flow of wind and water, the building’s central, five-story atrium greets arriving visitors like an intriguing landscape, ready to be explored. Opening the building to natural daylight, the atrium structure also provides intriguing views into different spaces while bridging physical connections between them. Its structural walls and arches carry the building’s gravity loads. It is constructed using shotcrete, a technique primarily used for infrastructure, which sprays structural concrete directly onto rebar cages that were digitally modeled and custom-bent.

'Eliminating the waste of formwork, the technique achieves a seamless, visually and spatially continuous interior, whose form extends outward to greet the park and neighborhood beyond. The building is clad in Milford Pink Granite, the same stone used for the Museum’s entrance on Central Park West. Its rounded windows use bird-safe fritted glass to prevent birds from colliding with a surface they otherwise can’t see.

Jeanne Gang said:

“The architecture taps into the desire for exploration and discovery that is so emblematic of science and also such a big part of being human. When you step into the Gilder Center, you immediately feel a sense of wonder. You can glimpse the different exhibits and see how to move between them. The building invites you on a journey toward deeper understanding, sparking your curiosity and helping you find the amazing organisms and knowledge inside.”

Below: Griffin Atrium Staircase at The Gilder Center - designed by Studio Gang (image from Iwan Baan)


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