Rendering of museum with green roof

ArchNewsNow: Riverside Reveries: The Museum of Life and the Environment by William McDonough + Partners; Ralph Appelbaum Associates; and Nelson-Byrd Landscape Architects

What is a “green museum?” Given that fresh air and abundant daylight potentially contradict the goals of traditional black-box exhibit space, in which the visitor is immersed completely in the subject matter on display, is a “sustainable” museum even practical? The Museum of Life and the Environment, the first museum project by William McDonough + Partners (WM+P), addresses this challenge. Located on the shore of the Catawba River in York County, South Carolina, the museum will explore the relationships between culture and nature, people and place, by focusing on the heritage of the Carolina Piedmont and other demonstrative environments around the world. The museum is being designed as a close collaboration betweenWM+P, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, and Nelson-Byrd Landscape Architects. The architecture and its systems will operate in conjunction with the landscape and exhibits as a unified illustration of the museum’s themes and principles, demonstrating natural processes in a living architecture. The conceptual design has just been completed for the 120,000-square-foot project that will include 40,000 square feet of exhibit space, scheduled to open in 2005.