by , 07/28/07

California Academy of Sciences, Green roof, San Francisco green roof, San Francisco green building, sustainable museum

One of San Francisco’s most exciting green projects is the construction of the new California Academy of Sciences building, designed by renown architect Renzo Piano, to be topped by an undulating, functional, not-to-mention HUGE living green roof. Construction is underway, and they’re making huge headway on the roof, engineered by Rana Creek in collaboration with Piano. Not only will this roof provide all the sustainable benefits that living roofs bring to a structure, but it will be visible from within the exhibition spaces, connecting inside and out, and engaging the context of San Francisco’s flora-filled backdrop.

California Academy of Sciences, Green roof, San Francisco green roof, San Francisco green building, sustainable museum

The roof itself is estimated to prevent approximately two million gallons of rainwater from becoming storm-water runoff. It will also provide excellent insulation, improve air quality, and require very little maintenance. Part of it will be accessible to museum visitors as well, featuring a landscaping exhibition space.

“The architectural design of the new Academy responds to the Academy’s mission, history, and setting. Inspired by the natural world, nature will become part of the building itself. A living roof will slope over interior exhibitions and read as hills against the natural landscape. The new building will be an organic extension of the Academy’s commitment to understand and protect the natural world around us.”

The new Academy building will house an aquarium, planetarium, and exhibition spaces, and is set to open in 2008. Aside from its green roof, the building is a feat of institutional green building, using some of the most cutting-edge energy efficiency strategies, daylighting, possible biofuels, and water reclamation. Yet another great green project from the city by the Bay- we’ll be sure to keep you updated on the construction progress.

Check out some great construction videos and interviews on the California Academy of Sciences website here>>

+ California Academy of Sciences New Academy Building

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  1. Jill Fehrenbacher January 17, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Hi Dirk-

    Are you 10 years old? If not, time to go back to third grade and learn how to spell! It might also help in learning how to do research so you might understand that large public buildings (like museums) in seismically treacherous areas can not be built out of old tires. I personally believe the new academy of sciences building will inspire many generations of San Franciscans for a lifelong love of science and nature.

  2. New Leaf Clothing &raqu... October 1, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    […] How can green can you go? Just the roof in this building alone blows all other “green” friendly building out the water. The California Academy of Sciences just had its Grand Opening last Saturday. I have heard so much great things about this project, and can’t wait to go myself. I will be sure to share photos when I do.  More info on the super cool roof here. […]

  3. eugenia August 27, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    I was actually asking for construction details of the California Academy of Sciences, as I’m a student in architecture from Córdoba, Argentina, at Pascal University

  4. Top Enviromental News &... November 14, 2007 at 8:46 am

    […] read more | digg story […]

  5. Renzo Piano的绿色屋... August 1, 2007 at 9:54 am

    […] [来源:Inhabitat California Academy of Sciences] ifgreen | 时间:9:53 下午 | 分类:建筑设计, 设计 标签:California Academy of Sciences, Renzo Piano, 屋顶绿化, 波浪屋顶, 生态建筑, 绿色建筑, 节能 « 混合动力火车Kiha E200 […]

  6. California Academy of S... July 31, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    […] a photo of the state of the construction during my visit (June): Check out this story – California Academy of Science Green Roof – at […]

  7. Jack73t July 30, 2007 at 8:38 pm

    I don’t think we should go back to “living in caves” but when I see projects like this I question whether it is to serve needs or egos.

  8. adam July 30, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    This building actually makes use of part of the old California Academy of Sciences structure, originally built in 1916, which I believe demonstrates a commitment to lessening the impact associated with new construction. The original Academy was damaged beyond repair in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, hence the need for this briliant remodel. And so I say to earthship dwellers, of whom we are all envious…..try getting 370,000 square feet of space built with recycled tires holding up the roof. Especially in earthquake country….seismically not so stable. Probably not going to work.
    As someone who has devoted the last few years of life to investigating and deconstructing the notion of Green Building, who has in fact chosen it as a career, I think that recognition needs to be given to the team that designed and blessed this project. Big urban museums are an integral part of our nation’s cultural identity, and a science museum more than any other kind has the potential to inform millions of people, especially youth, over the course of it’s existence. Here’s to another integral 90 years of informing the public. Cheers to the city of San Francisco, and to all those involved in this landmark project.

  9. shandar July 30, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Amen! I agree with Kim as I to decided I can not afford to put forth the amount of energy nor money into creating real slick sustainable new buildings. Yes, they are better than building new that is not, however, by choice, Renovation and Adaptive reuse should be the first thing to look at as a possibility. Unless the materials you are taking down are set aside for recycled use, the energy put into the project most likely equals the energy that it is quoted to sustain. think about it.

  10. Michael July 30, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Hey let’s all build more, move more and of course spend more!

    I agree with Kim, the only practical solution for growth and or progress is to restore and retrofit and rennovate old and or historical structures with these new technologies being used in the he California Academy of Sciences. Simply by stripping the land, tearing down existing structures and building new structures does not solve the “green’ problem. A nice example of this is the The Hearst Tower, New York City. The first skyscraper in the world not only to receive a LEED Gold accreditation but to built upon and to preserve a designated Landmark site.

  11. Kim July 30, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    actually the greenest building is the one ALREADY built, a la historic preservation (the name of the last National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference in Pittsburgh, PA–a both Green and Historic city). Renovation, restoration and adaptation–now there’s a growth industry. Instead of building new, retrofit what’s here. How many abandoned or underused buildings are there, more in some cities than others, true, but Portland, OR got it right, like Europe, defining where you can build and sticking to it–forces developers to re-use the existing building stock–demolishing should be a last resort. Imagine how much material is not in a landfill because of just that one city–now multiply…

  12. J July 30, 2007 at 9:35 am

    “The greenest structure is the one that isn’t built.” Yea, we should go back to living in caves. c’mon people, its a huge science facility that needs to provide its students and faculty all that they need to make scientific breakthroughs. earthship may be great for residential uses, but I fail to see its practicality in this kind of application.

  13. Jack73t July 29, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    The greenest structure is the one that isn’t built.

  14. Dirk Sullivan July 29, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    This is outrageous. This building is not green at all!!!! They must factor in the embodied energy of the materials. I bet it took a rediculous amount og energy to simply truck all those materials to the site… Imagine the amount of fossil fuels!!!! Not to mention the utlity bills and amount of energy used to run the building. And how are they dealing with their sewage?

    This ‘California Academy of Sciences Green Roof’ makes all of us truely green, independent dweller sick!

    the real solution is earthship – now if this museum could be an earthship, then it would truly be green, sustainable and independent.

    How does this building affect the next 7 generations?

    check out

  15. Move your mind » ... July 29, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    […] En la ciudad de San Francisco (Estados Unidos) se está construyendo el nuevo edificio para la Academia de Ciencias de California (California Academy of Sciences) diseñado por el arquitecto italiano Renzo Piano . Una de las características principales de esta obra es su ondulado “techo verde“, el cual no sólo generará beneficios en relación a su sustentabilidad, sino también será visible desde los espacios interiores relacionando el interior de las salas de exposiciones con el exterior, permitiendo el acceso, a parte de él, a los visitantes del museo, creando así espacios de exhibición al aire libre. Esta obra, que será inaugurada en 2008, contará también con un acuario, y un planetario…. Más > Inhabitat […]

  16. Naomi July 29, 2007 at 10:03 am

    I am so thrilled and proud with what San Francisco (my hometown) is doing to advance green building and more sustainable practices across the board! I can’t wait to see the new Academy of Sciences building when it re-opens in it’s new form next year. I can’t think of a better “excuse” to visit “The City”! Bravo to all the planners on this innovative project. Thank you.

  17. Nicolas Ziesel July 28, 2007 at 6:51 am

    impressive but may i immodestly say my team (plan01) did a huge green roof on a museum 2 years ago ( ) . The great benefit in a metal frame building is the coolness it provides in summer even if it is not taken in account by thermal simulations. As a result the air con groups work only half what was expected.

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