Next Stop on the Mayor's Dallas Makeover Tour, the Perot Museum of Nature & Science

Mayor Tom Leppert has run quite the lengthy victory lap this week: He took a ride on the Green Line; got off at the Woodall Rodgers Deck Park ground-making; then hustled on over to the convention center hotel groundbreaking. Which brings us to today's stop: Leppert attended the unveiling of the model of the Perot Museum of Nature & Science at Victory Park, designed by 2005 Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne. And he took a moment to applaud the $185-million facility in Victory Park, scheduled to open in 2013, as a gateway that will encourage kids to elect science careers.

"It's a great building," Leppert told Unfair Park. "But it's what can happen in the minds of the kids inside the building that is much more important."

We've already seen some of the building's insides: Almost a year ago, officials debuted conceptual renderings for the Tom Hunt Energy Hall ... otherwise known as The Batcave. Now we know more about the whole structure: It'll be 180,000 square feet and 170 feet tall. Yet, despite the enormity of the structure, the architect wanted to highlight nature, not concrete, in his design. After all, it is a nature and science museum.

"It became extremely important to make that very literal," said Mayne. Which is why the roof will be covered in native grasses, and of the 12 exhibitions promised in the new museum, one will be the exterior landscape itself.

"Nature takes over the building," said Mayne. "A little like looking at Roman ruins."

After the jump, renderings of the model heretofore unseen. So, see them already.

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