Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne of Morphosis is known for creating incredible structures with complex organizational systems that form their own micro-worlds. Mayne's design of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is no different, but unlike his other buildings, which maintain an unbroken and stoic disposition, the Perot Museum capitalizes on an abundance of natural light and an incredible, wrapping xeriscaped terrace. Hosting two diverse and expansive ecologies, which include a forest of large native canopy trees and a balcony of native desert flora, the museum's design truly exemplifies the intersection of both nature and science.
The 14-story museum will be a cube structure set above a plinth, topped off at the roof and wrapped with an extensive green terrace hosting one acre of Texas’ native drought-resistant flora and fauna. The ever evolving xeriscaped terrace will gently slope up to connect with the museum’s iconic stone roof, and each exterior and interior will flow seamlessly into one another, further underscoring the inescapable connection between the natural and manmade. Built to sustainable standards, the museum will take advantage of the bright Texas sun through skylights which will flood the main atrium and other spaces with natural light, as well as numerous other green features including off-grid energy generation and specialized water conservation systems.
The new museum will open 80% of its space to the public (an unusually high percentage) and will include 10 galleries, a 300 seat cinema, flexible auditorium, cafe, retail store, offices and an area to host workshops. Mayne hopes that the new museum will not only be a public escape from the dense urban landscape, but be “a building that opens up, belongs to and activates the city” ultimately making the people as integral to the museum as the museum is to the city.