By Jana Schiowitz Posted February 17, 2012, 9:40 AM EST
MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA The Miami Science Museum will have a new home in 2015, located in Museum Park and overlooking Biscayne Bay. The 250,000-square-foot institution, named after an internationally recognized leader in business, science, and philanthropy, Dr. Phillip Frost, and his wife, Patricia, is a $300 million project. Private donations, public funding, and a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy will help pay for the new venue.
“The question is really why has Miami waited so long?” said Gillian Thomas, president and C.E.O. of the Miami Science Museum. “Science and technology are key to any region’s future, and so innovative exhibitions and high-quality learning resources are essential if our children are to have the best opportunities and our community is to be successful in the future.”
Sustainability is shaping the look of the new Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science. Architecture firm Grimshaw Architects took the direction and location of the sun into consideration when designing the building. Solar panels will cover the building's roof and facade, and thin film called photovoltaics will be placed in the atrium and skylights to convert light into energy, powering the building. “Using Building Information Modeling, the shape of the Miami Science Museum building was deliberately designed to work with the pattern of wind flow, ventilation, and airflow on site,” Thomas said. In order to have effective cross-ventilation, the museum will also open up to the Southwest, taking advantage of the winds.
The new museum will feature a 600,000-gallon “Gulfstream” aquarium, an Everglades-to-ocean “Living Core” area, a full three-dimensional planetarium, two wings of exhibition and classroom space, and extensive use of interactive exhibits and multimedia. The museum's largest event space will be the 10,000-square-foot traveling gallery, which will accommodate up to 600 guests. “It’s going to be a landmark by day and by night, and bring large numbers of visitors to downtown Miami,” Thomas said. “It’s a big piece of the picture, making downtown Miami an international destination for culture and entertainment."
Outside, there will be a four-acre site, 28-acre waterfront park, exhibits that will take advantage of climate and location, an Energy Playground where visitors will be able to explore basic physics, and a rooftop wildlife center with hanging gardens and animals. “As you can imagine, I am delighted to see dreams coming to fruition,” Thomas said. “So many people throughout the community have great memories of exciting visits to our existing museum, and we’re about to create those unforgettable memories for the future."