Last week, the state appeals court dismissed an appeal, effectively greenlighting the American Museum of Natural History’s plans for a new educational center on the Upper West Side. According to West Side Rag, the removal of trees outside of the Museum has already begun in preparation for the 230,000-square-foot Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. The Gilder Center will include new exhibition and learning spaces with state-of-the-art technology and access to the museum’s world-class collections. The five-story addition is designed by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects with Ralph Appelbaum Associates designing the exhibition experiences. Reed Hilderbrand will be responsible for the landscape architecture.
Roughly 80 percent of the project will be located within the area currently occupied by the museum, and will require the removal of three existing buildings. An area of 11,600 square feet, about a quarter acre, of the development’s footprint will come from the Theodore Roosevelt Park, and another three-quarters of an acre of park space will be altered for improvements and connections to the building. It was this transformation of green space that prompted community groups to attempt to block the development in the form of an appeal.
The museum expects to open the center by 2021.