The Richard Gilder Center

Where Architecture Meets Nature

So, I recently had the chance to check out the brand-new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, located inside the legendary American Museum of Natural History in NYC. And let me tell you, it was an epic experience! As an architect, I was beyond excited to see how they merged design with the wonders of nature. Brace yourself for an inside scoop on the marvellous interior, where I felt like I had entered an anthill and the incredible insect exhibitions that made me appreciate insects like never before.

Magic Inside.

Stepping into the Richard Gilder Center was an awe-inspiring experience. The moment I entered, I was immediately captivated by the sheer brilliance of the architecture. The interior design effortlessly emulates the intricate layout of an anthill, creating a mesmerizing maze of interconnected spaces and pathways that beckon exploration. But here’s the best part—the exhibitions were all about insects! Imagine being immersed in a world filled with astonishing displays and interactive elements that transported me into the captivating lives of these tiny creatures. It was like venturing into an entirely new realm right at the heart of the museum.

As I ventured further into the Gilder Center, I was greeted by the magnificent five-story Kenneth C. Griffin Exploration Atrium—a true feast for the senses. Sunlight flooded the space through expansive skylights, casting a mesmerizing glow on everything within. The design of the atrium draws inspiration from the incredible forces of wind and water that shape landscapes and the artistic patterns formed when hot water etches into ice blocks. Brace yourself for an otherworldly experience as you navigate through textured surfaces and gracefully flowing forms that transport you to a natural canyon. The structure itself was constructed using an innovative technique called «shotcrete,» where concrete is sprayed directly onto rebar. This ingenious approach resulted in bridges, openings, and hand-finished shotcrete elements that seamlessly connect different levels, making you feel like a true intrepid explorer.

Stylish Contrast.

The design of the Gilder Center is all about embracing flowing curves and creating an inviting atmosphere with bird-safe fritted glass. What’s even more impressive is that the pink granite cladding perfectly matches the Central Park West entrance, establishing a harmonious visual connection. On the other hand, the older part of the Museum showcases a completely different style. The new façade of the Gilder Center, visible from different angles across the museum’s campus, leaves a lasting impression with its diagonal pattern of pink granite stone panels. These panels not only evoke the mesmerizing layering found in geology but also mirror the textured masonry surface on the museum’s 77th Street side. With the integration of bird-safe glass and its curvaceous shape, the building seamlessly blends into the surrounding greenery and the nearby Central Park, almost resembling a natural formation. The Gilder Center offers delightful surprises at every rounded corner, truly making it a place of discovery.

After Your Visit.

Last but not least, Central Park! After an exhilarating day at the museum, you can simply stroll over to Central Park for a well-deserved break. It’s like having an oasis right next door. You can wander through the lush greenery, find a cozy spot for a picnic, or just sit and take in the beauty of nature. It’s the perfect way to unwind and reflect on the incredible experience you just had at the Gilder Center.

Ana Fornell


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