Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Californian Academy of Sciences

I love art and sciences, but sometimes I feel a bit wary about museums, these human-built environments made for people to entertain (or maybe infotain?) themselves, competing with each other in spectacular shows and exhibitions. Or maybe it is just that I have been spending the last year a bit in a “tourist mode”, scanning through all that Seattle and other cities on our trip lists have to offer. Anyway, there are both better and definitely many worse ways to spend ones time...
A glass globe inside the building, holding a complete Amazonian rainforest ecosystem; you can walk around four stories inside of the globe, researching the ecosystem from the fish below to the canopy above, all complete with living butterflies and birds).

Despite my pondering, I insisted in having the Californian Academy of Sciences located in the Golden Gate Park on our itinerary to San Francisco and I don’t regret this tiniest little bit. It opened in late 2008 and it really is a spectacular place for both young and old; an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and research institution, all housed in a completely sustainable, high tech building encasing the old Academy building. It was designed by Architect Renzo Piano, who also draw the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, that famous “guts on the outside” building so avantgarde on its time. In the Academy of Sciences building, the “guts” are actually inside but outside at the same time, just look at the picture above with the glass globe to understand what I mean. K

Totally in tune with the times, the Academy of Sciences building is one of the biggest public LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum buildings, and has been reported and published by the press accordingly. The beautifully undulating roof of 2.5 acres with its rounded portholes did remind me of Teletubbies (being a mother of two children in that generation…), or maybe even of some kind of future space buildings. Looking at the over 1.7 million plants gently swaying in the wind, it felt like promise of better things coming, a time when commercial, public and private buildings will be better equipped for helping to save the planet.


nilla|utanpunkt said...

Förstår precis hur du känner, den där dubbelkänslan. Lite som jag och Great Dixter (som jag skrivit om alldeles nyss). Fast ibland är det bra med den där dubbelkänslan, får en att reflektera...

ha det gott!

The Intercontinental Gardener said...

Absolut; jag tror att jag har blivit mer så med åren, ju mer man ser och lär, desto mer reflekterar man kring det (och förstor hur lite man egentligen vet...). Härligt att höra från dig igen, jag älskade din Great Dixter post!

Bay Area Tendrils said...

Dear Intercontinental Gardener,

A note to let you know that I've tagged you for a
Meme Award!

Do drop by to pick it up,