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Rose Center for Earth and Space, American Museum of Natural History

New York, New York

Rose Center Beneath
Rose Center Interior

The Rose Center for Earth and Space is an iconic international hub for the study of astronomy and earth sciences for researchers and the general public alike.

Rose Center for Earth and Space 3
Rose Center for Earth and Space 3

RAA was asked to design a new visitor journey for the redeveloped Center, one that would take them from the outer reaches of space to the inner workings of Earth. The design process involved extensive collaboration with the museum’s scientists and educators as well as the building architect. The building is a learning tool and a visible expression of the science it contains. The Center’s components—the Planetarium, Scales of the Universe exhibits, Big Bang Theater, Spiral Through Cosmic Evolution, and the Hall of the Universe—are structured in a sequential narrative that facilitates recall.

Rose Center for Earth and Space 4

Sound effects, audio narration, and background effects support an array of exhibition techniques: interactive and participatory media, mini-theaters, custom 3-D visualizations, the world’s largest terrarium, and the Center’s largest artifact: the fifteen-and-a-half-ton Willamette Meteorite – so heavy the building was constructed around it.

Rose Center for Earth and Space 6
Rose Center for Earth and Space 6

Visitors receive up-to-date information through hands-on exhibits. Scholarly curation, media, real-time feeds, images, kinetic models, and advanced computer graphics illustrate astrophysics, astronomy, and earth science for an audience of all ages and backgrounds.

Rose Center for Earth and Space 7

Opened in 2000, the Rose Center’s startling glass-cube exterior, the enormous Hayden Sphere visible within it, is one of New York City’s architectural icons as well as one of the city’s premier tourist attractions.

Size 23,000 square feet

Year 2000

Architect Ennead Architects(Formerly Polshek Partnership Architects)

Project Details

CONSTRUCTION MANAGERMorse Diesel International

Structural EngineerWeidlinger Associates, Inc.

MEP EngineerAltieri Sebor Weiber

Architect of Record (Exhibitions)Perkins Eastman Architects

Audio Visual ConsultantElectrosonic Systems, Inc.

LightingL’Observatoire International; Fisher Marantz Renfro Stone

AcousticsBerlin Acoustics; Shen Milsom & Wilke, Inc.

Glass ConsultantsR.A. Heintges

Exhibition FabricationExhibit Group Giltspur

Kinetic, Static and Living ModelsNed Kahn Studios; Polich Art Works; Research Casting International; Showman Fabricators Inc.; Hoberman Associates, Inc.; Ecosphere Associates

Multimedia Theater Engineering and ProductionAudio Visual Imagineering; My Design

Satellite Projection DishesEsperanto Inc.

`Floating` Images Production:Floating Images, Inc.

Video and Interactive Media ProductionFunny Garbage; Cuscuna Multimedia Inc.; Ballentyne Brumble Communications; American Museum of Natural History; RAA;

Mosaic FloorBisazza

Mechanical/Electrical EngineerAltieri Sebor Weiber

Audio Visual ConsultantElectrosonic Systems, Inc.

Security ConsultantSako and Associates, Inc.

SpecificationsRobert Schwartz and Associates

Sound EngineeringMagian Design Studio

Large-Scale Fiberglas CastingsResearch Casting International;

Rock Cutting, Polishing and MountingJohnson Atelier; Valley Marble and Slate Corporation

Earth Globe Model and Rock MountingPolich Art Works

Mountain Building Sand ModelInstitut de Physique du Globe de Paris

Mothra Vent Site Model BBC Design Group

Earth Section ModelsShowman Fabricators Inc

Kinetic ModelsLester Associates, Inc.

IllustratorsMark Sweeney; Cindy Poorbaugh

Ice Core Refrigerated CaseHarris Environmental Systems

Interactive Media ProducersBallentyne Brumble Communications; Digit New Media

Film and Video ProductionsDennis Earl Moore Productions, Inc.; WGBH/NOVA

Hemispherical Video ProductionArc Science Simulations

Soundscape ProductionCharles Morrow Associates, Inc.

AwardsCeramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition | Assopiastrelle: Winner, Special Award – Mosaic Design and InstallationThe International Design Magazine (I.D.) Annual Design Review: Honorable Mention, EnvironmentsIndustrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), International Design Excellence Award (IDEA): Gold, EnviromentsSEGD Global Design Award: Merit Award, Exhibition Design/Museum EnvironmentsADC: Art Directors Club Award: Distinctive Merit

Rose Center for Earth and Space 8