After a long six-year renovation, Flushing Meadows’ “cathedral of science” has reopened with an updated building and a spectacular interactive Earth Sustainability installation. Designed by Ennead Architects, the renovated Great Hall at the New York Hall of Science has replaced its previous space theme and now is equipped with six massive virtual environments that aim to teach visitors about earth sustainability issues.
Todd Schliemann of Ennead Architects explains after six years and $25 million, the renovated building, located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, has been restored as one of NY’s most impressive architectural sites. “This is one of the hidden gems of mid-century modern architecture in New York City. It’s breathtaking.”
Originally built for the 1964-65 World’s Fair, the iconic building was in dire need of repair. During the renovation, the building was brought up to code with an updated electrical systems, energy-efficient lighting, heating and fire alarms. Additionally, because the museum’s initial space exploration theme is no longer as relevant as it once was, the team decided to revamp the exhibition to focus on a more current topic: Earth exploration and sustainability.
The permanent interactive installation, “Connected Worlds”, allows visitors to control life in various environments such as the desert, mountain valleys, plains, reservoirs, jungles and wetlands to combat the effects of climate change. Visitors “work” to improve each environment by planting seeds, moving logs and directing water flow. In fact, one of the major features is a 38-foot virtual waterfall.
Dan Wempa, vice president of external affairs at the Hall of Science explained that the interactive installation is meant to be a long-lasting educational experience. “We wanted to teach people that their actions have reactions and consequences. There’s nothing like this — as far as we know — in any museum experience.”
Images via NYSCI