Designs unveiled for expansion of New York’s Natural History Museum

US architect Studio Gang has unveiled designs for a $340m expansion of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York.

Studio Gang’s 235,000 square-foot Gilder Centre is described as the "physical heart" of the AMNH and will contain:

  • The Core, a 21,000-square-foot, five-storey development that will house artifacts and 3.9 million specimens, approximately 10% of the museum’s collection.
  • The Insectarium, a 5,000-square-foot gallery, the museum’s first specifically dedicated to insects in more than 50 years.
  • The Butterfly Vivarium, a 3,400-square-foot year-round exhibit that doubles the space of the existing seasonal Butterfly Conservatory.
  • The Invisible Worlds Immersive Theatre, a 9,520-square-foot project showcasing cutting-edge scientific technologies such as CT scanners, scanning electron microscopes, and high-resolution, high-speed cameras.

The expansion will accommodate the museum’s rising annual attendance, which over the past several decades has grown from approximately 3 million to 5 million.

The development will house spaces designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, the world’s largest museum exhibition design firm as well as laboratories, imaging facilities, visualisation theaters, and classrooms while also revealing more of the museum’s extensive scientific collections.

The public will be able to engage with innovative tools used by museum scientists, such as the tools used for gene mapping, 3D imaging, and big data assimilation and visualisation, to gain a "deeper understanding of our world and how science is conducted today".

Jeanne Gang, founder of Studio Gang said: "We uncovered a way to vastly improve visitor circulation and museum functionality, while tapping into the desire for exploration and discovery that is so emblematic of science and also such a big part of being human.

"Upon entering the space, natural daylight from above and sight lines to various activities inside invite movement through the Central Exhibition Hall on a journey toward deeper understanding. The architectural design grew out of the museum’s mission."

The Gilder Centre is due to open in 2020.

Images via Studio Gang

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