MUSEUM IN THE CITY - Our human understanding of our relationship to the natural world has changed dramatically since natural history museums first came into widespread being in the 19th century. The natural sciences have grow from cataloging the natural world, to understanding its underlying processes, to predicting its trajectory. This gains huge significance in an age where human beings are the dominant geological force acting on the planet, the Anthropocene.
MUSEUM AS TYPE - Natural history museums are also changing dramatically. Once seen as
isolated places of study, display, and education in the natural sciences, they have become hyper-connected global hubs in networks that engage research, policy, public awareness, outreach, and conservation—as well as continuing their own study, display, and education of the public. The identity of individual institutions remains distinctive and powerful—each institution has its own identity and focus, but the collaborative work that institutions do with each other continues to advance research and promote knowledge about our living planet in ways that no institution could do alone. Similarly, institutions that engage their public, through education, citizen science, and open-ended inquiry have a growing and demonstrable role in their communities and an increasing value to them.
MUSEUM CONCEPT- Within the architectural and exhibition program of the museum, this can become visible to visitors and staff alike when the boundaries between disciplines are open, and when the museum as a whole is understandable as an umbrella organization that contains any different but related parts. The design proposal for the Shenzhen Natural History Museum is inspired by this message of interconnected elements within a coherent whole. The exterior of the building forms the umbrella that contains the many natural material elements and simultaneously opens them to the real world outside. It is a special part of the landscape that reveals a multiplicity of parts within it.