Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Who is Renzo Piano?

San Fran’s Golden Gate Park now has a monolithic, jaw-dropping, uber green building. It’s the new California Academy of Sciences (a.k.a. gigantic LEED platinum building) coming in at 410,000 square feet with a price tag of $488 million inspired by Renzo Piano. It’s beautiful. It’s sustainable. It's cool, geeky science blended with art.

Even better, it houses an aquarium, planetarium, and natural-history museum all under its distinct key feature – the living roof. With about 1.7 million plants and spreading about 2.5 acres…it’s a carbon vacuum. Its structure is designed with a layered approach that promotes biodiversity. The layers include rock, fungi, and coconut-husk fiber that allow for the vegetation to absorb the proper amounts of oxygen and water.
As for the guts of the building, the rainforest exhibit is heaven to a botanist. Its glass structure and specialized microclimate is ideal for the 1,600 animals and 30 orchid species. As for maintenance and cleaning, let’s just say there are many scuba drivers that are applying for applications. The massive aquarium does require regular algae cleaning amongst 38,000 undersea creatures. Experienced divers or rescue swimmers are welcome! Doors open on September 27th.

Photographs by Todd Eberle


Narm said...


Sustaino - said...

Indeed! I have mentioned this place to many families and hopefully California will appreciate the extra tourism that I have been recommending.

mourazjan said...

This looks like my dream house, excepting the price tag...I am curious to see how much of this technology will make it into the consumer housing market (the current housing crisis not withsatnding). This, if appropriately marketed, could replace new home construction (assuming that one could find an economical way to upgrade).

Sustaino - said...

Green technology for the residential market is abundant and available; however, still hard to justify in the case of the everyday consumer wallet. Sure there are healthy debates about the ROI of green home improvements, the payback, the LEED points that are obtainable, and even credit granted by Uncle Sam. As for upgrades, green purchases are not always top of mind for today's DIYers who look more at the green in their wallet vs. the green carbon footprint. Yet, again, I expect that change for new construction where the logistics are a bit easier to incorporate green technology into housing.


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