– The science of building design

Posted on August 15th, 2011

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By: MiaSci

Grimshaw Architects use Autodesk’s Revit software to design $272m Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in Miami

The Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science (formerly the Miami Museum of Science) is an ambitious design project currently at design development at the New York office of Grimshaw Architects. Working in collaboration with executive architects Rodriguez and Quiroga, engineers Arup and exhibition designers Thinc Design, Grimshaw has harnessed the ineffable energy of Miami and channelled it into an interactive educational experience.

Located in a prominent position at Museum Park in downtown Miami, the new Museum of Science will provide accessible links to the surrounding institutions, (many of which are also at the design stage at this point in time) including an art museum, performing arts centre and multifunctional arena. Care has been taken to effortlessly slide the 250,000 sq ft bulk of this new museum complex into its site, with the design deliberately left partially open to the elements so that visitors may interact with the natural surroundings whilst enjoying the internal exhibits.

A key point of the brief was that whilst the building must remain flexible to enable the Museum of Science to adapt to future needs and exhibitions, it was imperative that the concept become part of the display itself. Partner at design architects Grimshaw, Vincent Chang explains: “The New Museum is imbued with the knowledge that it is itself the single largest exhibit; the building harvesting sunlight, water and breezes as well as kids’ energy. These flows are everywhere made apparent, legible and informative.”

Sustainability plays a major role in this project with the list of green design features too long to detail here. Highlights include: photovoltaic panels to generate onsite energy; climate responsive design (opening to prevailing winds, and natural ventilation in the Parking Garage and all exterior areas); stormwater capture, treatment and reuse; use of seawater for exhibitions; optimised glazing and shading; and native vegetation.

The entire $272m complex is due for completion at the end of 2014, with a number of science galleries, a planetarium, and a ‘living core’ aquarium and wildlife centre providing a range of entertaining educational activities for children and adults alike. Chang continues: “Two years ago we were given a simple brief to accompany the complex programme: to create a welcoming meeting place for the community, to create an environment that encourages journeys across thresholds and into science and, of course to be uniquely Miami.”

To view additional project photos online, visit:

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