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Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation

New York, New York

The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation is a 230,000-square-foot project (190,000 square feet of new construction, 40,000 square feet of renovated space) at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. RAA began work in 2014 as the lead exhibit designer on the project through to its opening.

RAA focused on representing exhibit items in ways true to their character as found in nature. The Susan and Peter J. Solomon Family Insectarium displays live insects and exhibits across 5,00 square feet.

Highlights include live insect tanks, pinned insects, dioramas, insect models, a sound gallery, a 1:20 scale suspended resin sculpted bee hive with integrated AV experiences, and a massive leafcutter ant tank. RAA designed the ribbed finished ceiling, which speaks to the geometry of insect nests.

Magnifying Glass Stations in the Butterfly Vivarium

The 2,500 square foot Davis Family Butterfly Vivarium highlights the activities of over 80 live butterfly species. The space was designed to reflect a natural garden of plants and flowers that support butterflies. The butterflies have associated graphic identification cards and interpretive panels to deliver information on these insects. RAA custom-designed a moth and pupae tank and butterfly feeders. Additionally, the space was designed to provide temperature and humidity conditions to allow the butterflies to thrive.

The Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. Collection Core  is a vertical feature that runs from the Lower Level to the Fourth Floor and features 2,500 square feet of floor-to-ceiling collections displays across three floors, encompassing the Macaulay Family Foundation Galleries on the first and second floors. The double-sided cases allow visitors to see through into the collections core storage itself and view the scientists at work. Integrated within the design are 100-inch digital touch screens and a flexible shelving and mounting system to adapt to the collections on display.

The Yurman Family Crystalline Pass features a 19-foot long vein of crystal quartz sourced from a mine in Arkansas. The design recreated the vein as found in nature and embedded this display behind glass into the architectural wall.

The exhibitions have received great acclaim, with the New York Times calling the galleries “incredible.”

Size 230,00 square feet (Center); 7,000 square feet (exhibitions)

Year 2023

Architect Studio Gang

Project Details

Fabrication:Hadley Exhibits; D&P

Lighting:David Clinard

Model Making:Atta Studio; Terry Chase

Scenic Model:3rd Dimension


Photography Alvaro Keding; Iwaan Baan