No, this is not a Zaha Hadid building that hasn’t been vacuumed in a while.
This is a proposed extension to the Natural History Museum, designed by Jeanne Gang’s firm, Studio Gang. Her Chicago-based practice is also the force behind the undulating Aqua Tower, winner of the 2009 Emporis Skyscraper Award.
The museum’s expansion, a $325 million dollar project, will contain the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation. Despite being 280,000 square feet, it will add only a quarter acre to AMNH’s footprint—an important feature, considering that expansion has faced significant opposition from those who wish to conserve the surrounding Theodore Roosevelt Park. Not to be confused with the preserve of the same name in North Dakota, the comparatively small park, which houses little more than the museum historic landscaped grounds, was designed by Judith Heintz 15 years ago.
This Daliesque design, described by the NYTimes as “bid[ding] to be the city’s next architectural spectacle,” includes space for exhibits, labs, a library, a theatre, and even a butterfly conservatory. It’s also received praise for its audacious and organic forms, which stand like a massive stone playground.
It’s already been passed by the museum’s board unanimously, but is currently pending approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the Cultural Affairs and Parks Departments. We can only hope it will soon be a lasting part of the city.