American Museum of Natural History

Constructed, 1877

This impressive museum was built in the Romanesque Revival style with pink granite, a barrel-vaulted ceiling, and marble floors.

Addition, 1891

The Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History houses the Museum’s new graduate program in comparative biology, the first museum program in the United States to grant PhDs. Occupying the top floor of the historic 1891 museum building designed by Josiah Cleveland Cady, the School includes a student lounge, a 25-person teaching lab, administrative offices, and a 50-person lecture hall. The project provides a home base for graduate students now scattered throughout the complex as well as a new identity for the program within the restored historic fabric of the building. The School is located along the “Golden Corridor of Science,” the monumentally scaled hallway that stretches more than 600 feet of the Museum’s upper floor. The heart of the complex is a double-height student lounge, ringed with a mezzanine with individual study carrels. A glazed wall opens the lounge to the corridor.

Addition, 1935

The original Hayden Planetarium, built in 1935, at the American Museum of Natural History was the fourth planetarium in the US. Designed by Trowbridge and Livingston, it sported an Art Deco concrete copper-covered dome, reflecting confidence in scientific progress. Inside, the planetarium housed state-of-the-art instruments, including the Zeiss II projector financed by Charles Hayden. The dome's interior was acoustically remarkable. The structure also featured an array of murals and an auditorium that projected past and future skies. The shows, blending science and optimism, aimed to soothe Depression-era fears. In WWII, the planetarium also assisted in training military personnel. 

Renovation, 2000

The Rose Center for Earth and Space redefines the identity of this venerable cultural and academic institution for the 21st century while respecting the historic architecture of the designated landmark. Along with the Arthur Ross Terrace, the Weston Pavilion and the renovated Theodore Roosevelt Park, The Rose Center completes the Museum’s north side. The iconic sphere, housed within a glass cube, contains the state-of-the art Hayden Planetarium and “Big Bang” theater, whose program describes the origins of the universe. The building itself is designed as a learning tool, as a visible expression of the science it contains. Its extraordinary curtain wall, structural system and lighting, its use of materials and color, its open planning and single, striking volumetric expression all reveal to the visitor an iconic example of building technology and science that makes this new building a worthy complement to the existing museum and an effective expression of the institution’s scientific and educational mission.

Addition, 2023

The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, the latest expansion of New York's historic American Museum of Natural History, responds to the urgent need for better science understanding and access to education. Created from within, the design enhances the Museum's functionality and visitor experience throughout the campus. The project establishes a new, accessible entrance and a strong east-west axis, creating over thirty connections between ten buildings and replacing former dead ends with continuous circulation. The Gilder Center introduces new exhibitions, education, collections, and research spaces, unveiling previously behind-the-scenes functions to the public and revealing the Museum's diverse collections and ongoing scientific research. Inspired by natural processes, the architecture mirrors a porous geological structure shaped by wind and water, with a central five-story atrium welcoming visitors. The atrium is supported by structural walls and arches that carry the building's load. Constructed with shotcrete, a technique used for infrastructure, the building boasts a seamless, visually unified interior that extends outward, harmonizing with the park and neighborhood. The atrium promotes energy efficiency by channeling light and air, and passive cooling is achieved through stone cladding, shaded windows, and vegetation. The Gilder Center, with its advanced environmental strategies and commitment to the natural world, exemplifies the Museum's mission.

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