Everybody I know in San Francisco right now

is very excited about the opening next year of the new California Academy of Sciences.

You would be too:
The entire top of the museum, with the exception of the piazza's glass ceiling, consists of the biggest sustainable roof in the world. It is essentially a planted garden stretching to all four walls, supporting 1.7 million plants, including California poppies and strawberries.

Counting the tops of the two domes - Morrison Planetarium and the living rain forest - the roof sports a total of seven soil hills, mimicking the seven hills of San Francisco. This serendipitously also echoes the seven hills of Rome - capital of the home country of the man who designed the new museum, Italian architect Renzo Piano.

And I think this sounds very exciting:
Perhaps the most visually stunning feature of the new building will be the four-story-high glass dome that will house an exhibit of four rain forest habitats, all kept at a constant 82 degrees.

This dome will feature several palm and other trees soaring 70 feet high, and a winding ramp and an elevator will lead visitors to the four different habitats.

The first floor of the dome will imitate the rain forest of Borneo, with a live colony of bats living alongside snakes and flying geckos, frogs and lizards. The second floor will house Madagascar ants and chameleons, and the third floor will feature the birds and butterflies of Costa Rica, all flitting through the canopies of the dome's gigantic trees.

Finally, the basement will take visitors beneath a living mockup of a flooded Amazonian rain forest floor. To save visitors the trouble of swimming through heated muck, there is a long, acrylic tunnel that will allow them to stroll through and gaze directly into the bottom of the forest with its mangroves, soggy tree roots and freshwater fish.

And that's just the botanically-related stuff.
"The plans for every room, every glass-walled tank, and every exhibit of rain forest trees will bespeak the museum's basic mission: to tell the world how life evolved on planet Earth, how its diversity has spread across all the seas and continents, and how every visitor must come away newly committed to protect and sustain these infinitely varied life forms that are now threatened everywhere."

(In my fantasy world, major American cities would compete with each other to have the best science museum.)

Link to the current Cal Academy webpage.


Jenn said...

"In my fantasy world, major American cities would compete with each other to have the best science museum."


lisa said...

I agree with Jenn, that's a GREAT idea! Seems like Calif. is ahead of the rest of the country as usual...that museum will be crazy cool!

Deviant Deziner said...

I can hardly wait till it opens !!!
Watching the construction has been an incredible experience.
The big question for me is ...... Will we resume having our monthly Horticulture meetings at the new science building once it is finished ?
There used to be a time when our hort meetings were held at the old science building but then they were all switched over to the Hall of Flowers building .
I'd love to side step the crowds and have the building open at night just for us hort heads again !
Used to LOVE seeing hort slide shows in the planetarium .

I vote to move the hort meetings back to the Hall of Science !

chuck b. said...

Well, if that works out, please invite me to be your date to a hort slideshow in the planetarium!

Annie in Austin said...

I started to clip that quote and paste it in the comment box - only to find that Jenn beat me to it.

Your words are definitely worth quoting and the concept sounds amazing, Chuck. Thanks for telling us about it.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose