Studio Gang’s American Museum of Natural History Expansion Rises Above Manhattan’s Upper West Side

The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. Rendering by MIR and Studio Gang

Construction is progressing on the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, a 230,000-square-foot addition to the American Museum of Natural History at 415 Columbus Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Designed by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang, the new wing is expected to cost around $383 million.

The western entrance to the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. Rendering by Neoscape and Studio Gang

Recent photos show the reinforced concrete superstructure taking form next to Theodore Roosevelt Park and the intersection of West 79th Street and Columbus Avenue. The distinctive curved edges of the building are becoming apparent as the structure rises below the yellow crane. Steel rebar, orange netting, wooden railings, and construction equipment were spotted alongside construction workers walking across the newly created floors.

The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. Photo by Michael Young

The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. Photo by Michael Young

The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. Photo by Michael Young

The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. Photo by Michael Young

The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. Photo by Michael Young

The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. Photo by Michael Young

The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. Photo by Michael Young

The educational center will house multiple new exhibition galleries designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, a tall central atrium framed by amorphous openings in that lead up to a series of large skylights, a glass-enclosed “Collections Core” that would showcase four million specimens as well as classrooms and an insectarium, and a living butterfly exhibit called the “Butterfly Vivarium.” In addition, Theodore Roosevelt Park is planned to receive a newly revamped landscape design and overhaul by Reed Hilderbrand. The firm plans to expand the entrance to the public park from Columbus Avenue in order to create a more efficient flow of indoor-outdoor circulation to and from the museum, and bring extra seating and new trees to the neighborhood.

The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. Rendering by MIR and Studio Gang

Completion of the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation is slated for sometime in 2022, as noted on the construction board. The project is aiming for LEED Gold certification.

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26 Comments on "Studio Gang’s American Museum of Natural History Expansion Rises Above Manhattan’s Upper West Side"

  1. David in Bushwick | March 19, 2021 at 8:14 am | Reply

    Oh. I totally missed this new project. Unique if a bit literal. The interior space is lovely.

  2. What a shame when a beautiful old building gets a ghastly, Logan’s Run style sci-fi monstrosity connected to it. And for what? “Education”? Lol. Teaching woke lies to groups of bored school children. The entire thing is a pox from start to finish.

    • Man who hurt you

    • Agree with you 100%. And the Zaha Hadid pastiche? Oy.

    • Cheesemaster20 | March 19, 2021 at 10:26 am | Reply

      Upper West Side resident spotted!

    • Mr. Galikanokus | March 19, 2021 at 11:03 am | Reply

      Pfffft. Don’t give yourself carpal tunnel syndrome clutching those pearls too hard.

      Not that you need it explained to you (being the convicted troll you are) but the back of the museum ain’t all that special architecturally speaking and should be able to incorporate a radical design like this with no problem.

      As for that bit about “woke lies” you vomited onto your keyboard, I re-read the article and didn’t see any mention of them. Not sure where you got that from. Maybe some of the English to Russian [troll] translation of the article got misinterpreted by you.

    • Sleepyarchitect | March 19, 2021 at 11:05 am | Reply

      Your username doesn’t seem to line up very well with your commentary.

    • “Woke lies” being taught at AMNH? Do you mean things like “evolution,” and the “Big Bang?”

      You should sue your high school for malpractice. You have a great case.

    • ANonsensicalMan

    • Ah yes a “woke” slam. The idiotic conservative attack du jour. Are you sure something isn’t being “cancelled” here so you can moan about that too? Go eat your Jello old fart.

    • Love the reference to Login’s Run!

  3. Pleasing form and similar feel to canyon lands of the Western US. Another nice interior space for people to gather.The second structure for the Museum that is not traditional after the planetarium.

  4. Same people thinking this is an improvement are same people who would have supported a tower on top of Grand Central- getting sucked into the idea of “progress”. They could have expanded elsewhere in the City.

  5. It is not next to TR Park. It is IN TR Park. That’s why it was opposed. And the finished design is much bigger and much more hideous than the original.

    I’m so glad AMNH has $400 million to waste.

  6. The T-Rex told me he liked this new ‘wing’ but a bit pricey. Things were cheaper back in the day.

  7. Here in Chicago, where Gang’s practice is located, we are treated to Gang’s designed AQUA, an 82 story, 860 foot tall condo building near famous Grant Park. It’s an undulating pile that appears to have received an acid bath. The facade “waves”, teases and features sensuous curves around the building. It was praised by critics and pedestrians alike. I do see elements of Chicago’s tower in the views supplied here, especially the interiors. The pedigree is solid and the anticipation real.

  8. Elegant and graceful;reminds me of the Saarinen airport for TWA, but with a “here to stay” attitude which fits well with the building with which it shares a home.

  9. I think it’s nice.

  10. @InsensateMan
    You’re representative of that certain kind of bilious but misguided NYer: this “new” thing will never be accepted, you say —and then once it’s up, you’ll retort, “I knew how good it would be, and yet there were doubters.”

  11. After carefully looking over the various computer renderings and construction photos I think the overall design is a bit too and pompous excessive for the location. In other words way too much ‘architecture’ for what is supposed to be an major infill science center for the museum. And it really doesn’t work well as a primary museum entrance from Columbus Ave. either – my opinion.

    The center is shoehorned between an old power house on the left and the museum proper on the right -admittedly a very difficult site for a new ‘futuristic’ looking structure. Perhaps something more in keeping with the museums existing stone facade would have been more appropriate in this situation.

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