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The Museum of Nature's Mayne Man

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As promised, the Museum of Nature & Science today announced the architect who will build the $155-million facility at the northwest corner of Woodall Rodgers Freeway and N. Field Street -- and it's none other than "the bad boy and angry young man of Los Angeles architecture" hisself: Pritzker Prize-winner Thom Mayne of Santa Monica-based Morphosis. Says Frank-Paul King, chairman of the museum's board of trustees, in a media release that just went out: “Thom Mayne is truly a world-class architect whose extraordinary designs are always inspiring and thought-provoking. His unique approach of melding creativity and technology while respecting our environment in an urban society reflects our vision for the Museum of Nature & Science.”

Two years ago, The New York Times featured on its Web site a brief retrospective of Mayne's work; it's available here and includes the Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, California. More info about the 1968 USC grad is available here and here. And here you will find a lengthy interview with Mayne concerning the future of "green design" -- one of the reasons Mayne was chosen, says the museum's media release, which follows in full. Also after the jump, Mayne's entire interview on Charlie Rose's show from 2005 and a lecture Mayne gave about working "in the mineral world." --Robert Wilonsky


Museum taps internationally renowned architect to design approximately 150,000-square-foot facility in heart of Dallas

DALLAS, Tex. – Calling him a “world-class visionary whose unforgettably bold work will change the landscape of North Texas,” officials from the Museum of Nature & Science today named 2005 Pritzker Prize Laureate Thom Mayne of Morphosis as the architect for its new facility to be built at Victory Park in Dallas, Tex.

Mayne is the only American in the past 16 years (since 1991) to be selected for architecture’s most prestigious award, the Pritzker Prize. This achievement capped a three-decade career in which Mayne has received more than 100 awards and honors from across the world. Founder and leader of the Los Angeles-based firm Morphosis, Mayne’s most prominent projects include the Phare Tower in Paris; the Federal Building in San Francisco, Calif.; the Wayne L. Morse U.S. Courthouse in Eugene, Ore.; the University of Cincinnati Campus Recreation Center in Cincinnati, Ohio; the Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank in Klagenfurt, Austria; and the Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, Calif.

A dedicated educator for the past 35 years, Mayne is also co-founder of the influential Southern California Institute of Architecture, a tenured professor at UCLA, and a visiting teacher/lecturer who travels across the globe.

“Thom Mayne is truly a world-class architect whose extraordinary designs are always inspiring and thought-provoking,” said Frank-Paul King, Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. “His unique approach of melding creativity and technology while respecting our environment in an urban society reflects our vision for the Museum of Nature & Science.”

The Museum will be located on a 4.7-acre site at the northwest corner of Woodall Rodgers Freeway and Field Street adjacent to Victory Park. The land has been purchased, and groundbreaking is projected to take place in 2009. Upon completion, the Museum of Nature & Science is expected to emerge as one of the region’s premier destinations, attracting more than 1 million visitors annually.

“The advances in science and technology during the course of the 20th century dramatically altered the way we understand the world and raised the importance of science as the discipline and tool through Museum of Nature & Science taps Thom Mayne to design new facility which we are able to explain both the enigmatic and the day-to-day phenomenon of our existence,” said Mayne. “The challenge we face in the beginning of the 21st century is to make ever increasing scientific knowledge accessible in order to stimulate a new generation to its potential.”

“The architecture we are about to invent will attempt to parallel this scientific renaissance by making a work that is dynamic, multivalent in its interests, and didactic,” he added. “We seek to create a center of social interaction in the city of Dallas that will stimulate conversation, inquiry, curiosity and knowledge.”

Plans have been in the works for several years to build a new state-of-the-art museum to supplement the existing Fair Park facilities. The need for additional space became even more critical after the 2006 merger, unlike any in the nation, of three cultural institutions -- the Dallas Museum of Natural History (est. 1936), The Science Place (est. 1946) and the Dallas Children’s Museum (est. 1995).

The new facility will dramatically increase space so the Museum can showcase a wider spectrum of its valuable collections, incorporate modern technology, host world-class traveling exhibitions, and greatly expand its educational programs for schoolchildren and the general public.

“Our country is expected to face a significant shortage of qualified science, math and technology professionals in the coming years,” said Museum CEO Nicole Small. “To meet this need, it is critical that our community expand its focus on math and science programming. With both our Fair Park facility and our new building, we will be able to serve our community with exciting, engaging, and innovative programs never before experienced in North Texas.”

The new facility will be constructed as a “green” building, using more resource-efficient methods of construction, renovation, operation and maintenance, and demolition.

Officials said Mayne was chosen in part because of his commitment to “green” buildings. One of his current projects is the Tour Phare (Lighthouse) skyscraper in northwest Paris, which will be the tallest building to be constructed in France since the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889. Mayne has said that the Tour Phare “will be a prototype for a green building with a wind farm generating enough energy to power a significant portion of the building’s natural ventilation system and a 'double skin' of stainless steel and glass that functions as a self-shading mechanism that reduces heat gain in the building during the hotter months."

The Museum has more than $45 million in capital committed to date towards its current goal of $155 million, which will fund the site acquisition, exhibition planning and design, construction of the new building, education programs and an endowment. Major lead gifts include $10 million from Hunt Petroleum, $10 million from The Rees-Jones Foundation, $5 million from the Hoglund Foundation, and $2.5 million from the Corrigan Family. In addition, the Museum recently announced additional gifts including $7.25 million in gifts from six anonymous donors, $1 million from Kim Hiett Jordan, $1 million from the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Foundation and $1 million from The Rosewood Foundation. Furthermore, the Museum’s Board of Directors approved a $250,000 allocation to the Expansion Campaign from its receipts from the Body Worlds exhibition.

The approximately 150,000 square-foot facility will be walking distance from the American Airlines Center, W Hotel and House of Blues, and just minutes from the Dallas Arts District, the largest urban cultural district in the country; the Sixth Floor Museum; the Trinity River Corridor Project; and intown districts such as Uptown and Turtle Creek.

Visitors will have easy access to the Museum by riding DART light rail trains to Victory Station at the American Airlines Center; by traveling on any of the nearby roads, including Interstate 35E, Central Expressway and the North Dallas Tollway; or by using the Katy Trail pedestrian/bicycle paths.

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