We provided structural engineering services for the renovation of a wing of the museum that once provided back-of-house storage space. Redeveloped to showcase a special collections gallery, what was once a forbidding, closed-off space is now an integrated and enticing part of the museum experience.
Arup worked in collaboration with Place Architecture to renovate a space for rotating special collections at the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Elements of the transformation include two new mezzanines that were constructed within the existing double-height space to serve as research reading rooms. The space is defined by two 40ft architecturally exposed steel truss railings. The trusses offer a synthesis of form and function, creating a column-free space between existing building columns while also serving as railings and affording the necessary floor height clearances below. The trusses, which create a dynamic aesthetic for the otherwise serene backdrop of the library, were developed using a series of parametrically driven algorithms assessing bar diameter, slope, spacing, and density.
The design also includes a free-standing, architecturally glazed structural aluminium enclosure around the existing Foucault pendulum cable that penetrates the floor. In total, the redeveloped area is approximately 4,800ft2.