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Architectural Photography: California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

Posted on by Lauren Moss

A few months ago, we shared an animated view of the Bay Lights, our video and images of the large-scale LED public art installation at the Bay Bridge in Northern California...

   an animated view of the bay lights   | san francisco skyline

an animated view of the bay lights | san francisco skyline

Another highlight from the weekend was a visit to the California Academy of Arts, a favorite destination in the city-  the Renzo Piano-designed California Academy of Sciences museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

While the innovative strategies and sustainable technologies employed at this singular museum- the 'greenest' in the world- are indeed impressive, our photos below tend to focus more on the user experience in relation to the glass and metal architecture and multi-story volumes.

  view of entrance lobby from interior mezzanine  | san francisco

view of entrance lobby from interior mezzanine | san francisco

The sense of space and interior geometries at this unique structure- housing a digital planetarium and spherical 4-story rainforest dome, among other exhibits- establishes a strong connection to the building's exterior and landscape beyond in unexpected, experiential ways.

  interior view of the 90-ft diameter rainforest dome  | Academy of Sciences

interior view of the 90-ft diameter rainforest dome | Academy of Sciences

The undulating vegetated roof is reflected in the interior architecture's movement, openings and forms at the museum's ceiling, and upon traveling up several open levels and a stair to the exterior, visitors encounter the landscaped space via upper level access.

  living roof  | california academy of sciences

living roof | california academy of sciences

The unusual transition from a rigid structural system of manmade materials and high-tech materials (including a photovoltaic array spanning the length of the entrance), upward to an organic, growing rooftop landscape makes the experience of the building that much more meaningful, functional, and interactive.

  photovoltaic panels  | museum entrance

photovoltaic panels | museum entrance

Learn more about the building and its architecture at the Academy's website, as well as details on sustainable design principles, the living roof, as well as exhibit details.

...and many thanks for stopping by and taking a look at our personal photo gallery!  l+j

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