I’ve always been a fan of Italian architect, Renzo Piano and he didn’t disappoint with his renowned California Academy of Sciences building. Last September I was in San Francisco and made a point of visiting the institution. If you are a fan of green building and museums, this is considered the mother-ship. I’d have to say for me the most impressive aspect was the 4-story rainforest, you truly felt like you were transported to a real one. As you walk in you are enveloped by the humid, moist air and surrounded by a cacophony of sounds and sights from croaking trees frogs to beautiful, lush tropical plants.
The building itself earned it’s second LEED Platinum award back in September 2011. The Academy’s operations and maintenance practices were evaluated again and earned points across six different categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process. The institution has many attributes ranging from their living roof with 6″ of soil for insulation, the 60,000 pv cells to generate 10% of the Academy’s electricity needs or the 70% of staff using alternative transportation to commute to work – this is just to mention a few. Overall, the Academy sets the bar for cultural institutions and namely natural history museums. It is something of an aspiration for all those interested in this field of sustainability and green museums.
They also just unveiled a rare octopus species, a larger striped Pacific octopus. If it is so rare, I’m sort of wondering how they got it? But it comes under the weird and wonderful category because it’s mates pressing their suckers and beaks together, as well as morphing colors and shape shifting! Now, that is something to see and they say her mate is coming soon!