From a bird’s-eye view, the domes of the California Academy of Sciences, set to open in the fall, bulge out of the ground like giant scoops of green ice cream. These undulating hills built into the museum’s 2.5-acre, flora-covered roof integrate the building into the green space of surrounding Golden Gate Park. They also conserve energy, since the roof insulates and ventilates the 400,000-square-foot museum below.
Beneath the roof, museumgoers will find a natural-history museum, a planetarium, a rainforest with free-flying birds, a coral reef inhabited by 4,000 fish, and an aquarium filled with saltwater pumped in from the Pacific Ocean. The most influential display, though, may well be the marriage of the museum’s physical design with its educational mission. “It’s not about dusty stuffed animals,” says executive director Greg Farrington. “It’s about human survival and living in harmony on planet Earth.”
Check out our animated tour, below, and launch our photo gallery of the world's greenest museum here.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.