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The building achieved a four Green Globes Certification from the Green Building Initiative, a level reached by only 12 of the 759 certified buildings in the United States. It is targeted to attain a LEED Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council and also anticipates a Two Star certification from the Sustainable Sites Initiative pilot program. Unlike the grand vaulted halls of classic natural history museums, the Perot is more akin to a black-box theatre complex. Morphosis designed the public and circulation spaces, but the flexible, neutral galleries were left to the exhibit designers, a highly-specialized field in its own right. Certainly, the galleries are very dramatic in their presentation, a benefit in our age of short attention spans. In terms of organization, the entry level is a free zone, housing the lobby, box office, theater, and museum store. The lower level, which is also accessed directly from the bus drop, houses the children’s museum, learning labs, an auditorium, and a large temporary exhibition space. In keeping with the “building as exhibit” theme, the mechanical room walls are glazed and the various systems are exposed and color-coded. As suggested by the exterior,

PROGRAM DIAGRAMS SERVICE OFFICE GALLERY THEATER LOBBY

Unlike the grand vaulted halls of classic natural history museums, the Perot is more akin to a blackbox theatre complex. the vertical circulation system plays a starring role. Tamm-Seitz noted two museums as prototypes for the Perot’s interior system of movement: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, where patrons are directed to the uppermost level, working their way down through the galleries, and the Pompidou Center in Paris, where glazed escalator tubes hang on the building’s exterior, providing both a thrilling ride and dramatic views of the downtown skyline. Morphosis married the two concepts, creating a cantilevered one-way ride up to the fourth level, and a series of wide stairways and elevators, with transparent sides lit to reveal the pulleys and counterweights in action, for the trek back down. Clearly, this is not a building made for sufferers of acrophobia. The atrium, which rises through the entire building from the entry, is traversed by grated flooring connecting the escalator and stairs to the exhibit spaces. The fifth floor houses the colorful and energetic staff offices, designed by GFF Interiors in collaboration with Morphosis; in contrast to the museum, they are flooded with natural light from both perimeter glass and skylights above. Dallas has spent the last few decades creating cultural institutions that will help define the city well into the future. Some may question the focus on large, splashy projects at the expense of the small-bore connective tissue, which obviously creates more complete urban environments. But Dallas is engaging in very interesting exercises in architecture and city building, and these experiments have urbanistic merit. Located in a state that is infamous for meddling in the teaching of science, this building is an impressive architectural and philanthropic achievement that is most definitely fulfilling its mission to “inspire minds through nature and science.” Gregory Ibañez, FAIA, is principal of Ibañez Architecture in Fort Worth.

7/8 2013

Texas Architect 71

(Preview) Texas Architect July/August 2013: Light  

Sketches that bring sunlight and moonlight into spaces in creative, playful ways; otherworldly experiments in color centered on the early mo...

(Preview) Texas Architect July/August 2013: Light  

Sketches that bring sunlight and moonlight into spaces in creative, playful ways; otherworldly experiments in color centered on the early mo...