Pressing environmental issues come to life with multimedia displays and experiential exhibits visitors are encouraged to touch and explore. Visitors are welcome to observe the scientific process at work through gallery windows that open onto functioning earth sciences, genomics, paleontology, and astronomy laboratories. Staffed by scientists from the adjacent Department of Environment and Natural Resources building, these one-of-a-kind open laboratories present visitors with unprecedented access to the minds behind the science. A dramatic feature of the building is the Daily Planet – a four-story spherical projection environment and auditorium – which provides a whimsical, head-turning welcome to visitors while serving as a proclamation of the building’s purpose.
Designed to achieve Platinum certification, the project includes a 10,000 square-foot green roof and maximizes day lighting with transparent interior and exterior walls that challenges the “black box” convention of the museum building type. Rainwater cascades in visible waterfalls down the side of the building to underground cisterns to further reduce environmental impact.