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Piano's Living Roof: Museum Opening in San Fransisco

With his Museum of Natural History in San Fransisco’s Golden Gate Park Renzo Piano has successfully united the twelve different buildings of the California Academy of Sciences, constructed between 1916 and 1991, under one single, gigantic, green roof. In September 2008 the museum complex was opened.

Its smooth, green roof spans 41,000 square metres. Due to its 1,7 million native plants, it blends into the parks natural setting. Situated under this roof there are several  30 metre diameter domes, their top section pushing their way through the roof skin and generating a hilly landscape on top of the building. In one of these domes there is a planetarium, in another a simulation of the rain forest, as well as the Steinhart Aquarium and the Kimball History Museum.

The roof extends beyond the perimeter walls into a glass canopy to provide shade, protect from the rain and generate energy through more than 55,000 photo voltaic cells in the glass. Due to the building’s sustainability features, including solar panels for hot water, the use of natural light and a natural ventilation system, rainwater collection and the use of recycled building materials, the museum is aiming for the top rating of platinum under the US Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) system.

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