The California Academy of Sciences, designed by the Italian Pritzker Prize winner architect Renzo Piano is recognized as a building that balances nature and civilization. The Academy is located in Golden Park, San Francisco, California. It looks as if Piano lifted the park ground surface up and pushed the building underneath. There is strong balance between architecture, engineering, and art together with his great knowledge of structure. He mixed the private and public space together by digging into the nature. Also, his interest in technology in addition to his problem solving ideas in architecture is noticeable in his designs.
The Academy of Sciences in California is a great example of a sustainable architecture compared to the old building designed in 1934. $500 million dollars with almost 10 years of work went into this project. The building blends with the surrounding natural environment and is known to be one of the greenest buildings in the world. There is a strong emphasis on sustainability throughout this project. The building consists of different areas.
There is natural light in 90% of the spaces in the museum. The roof of the academy’s lobby is raised as if the room is pumped with air. The landscape outside is visible from the inside through the windows. People can access the huge green roof area from the exhibition halls which shows how the interior and exterior of the building are mixed together. The entire rain water from the green roof gets recycled and re-used for irrigation resulting in less water consumption. Solar panels produce hot water and energy. The thermal insulation as a result of the green roof reduces the need to use air conditioning. Piano used native plants for the green roof in order to reduce the water consumption. The windows are automatically opened to allow cold air in once the inside temperature rises. About 90% of the old building material was recycled; mostly concrete and steel. Denim jeans were used in wall insulations. Moreover, the untreated concrete of the walls and floors shows his emphasis on natural materials.
“Museums are not usually transparent, they are opaque, they are closed. They are like a kingdom of darkness, and you are trapped inside. You don’t see where you are. But here we are in the middle of a beautiful park, Golden Gate Park, so you want to look out and know where you are (Renzo Piano)”.
image source: http://resources.hydrotechusa.com/resources/photography/62//hydrotech_California_Acad(2).jpg