It’s Only Natural

The average person accidentally eats 430 bugs each year of his or her life, according to the city%26rsquo;s newest cultural coup. While that fact may be a little hard to swallow, it%26rsquo;s The Perot Museum of Nature and Science that causes most to gasp. Instead of creating a structure designed to merely house exhibits, Thom Mayne (2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate) and his California-based firm Morphosis Architects worked in tandem with Dallas-based landscape architects Talley Associates to create something alive and kinetic. Described as a floating cube with an undulating roofscape and landscaped base, the 180,000-square-foot museum boasts five floors, 11 permanent exhibits, a 3-D theater, an iconic escalator and enough environmental integrity to make it a sustainable standout %26mdash; it is one of only a handful of buildings in the U.S. to qualify for three green certifications: LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), Green Globes and Sustainable Sites Initiative. Every angle was thoughtfully conceived to convey a sense of connectivity, blurring the building%26rsquo;s boundaries so that elements such as the %26ldquo;living%26rdquo; roof, cars passing on the freeway, the Dallas skyline and a 35-foot dinosaur can all be seen from the main lobby alone. You (and/or the kids) can shake, rattle and hopefully not roll atop an earthquake simulator; compare a slew of sports skills against those of pro athletes; and nosh on gourmet edibles at The Caf%26eacute;, operated by Wolfgang Puck%26rsquo;s Restaurant Associates. Named in honor of Margot and Ross Perot (thanks to a substantial gift from their five children), the $185 million museum came to life with the help of many talented individuals, including some of Texas%26rsquo; most prominent philanthropic foundations (think Hoglund, Moody, Hunt, Hill and T. Boone Pickens) %26mdash; it%26rsquo;s also remarkable to note that this project was built without public funding or debt. When asked to reflect on his vision, Mayne said, %26ldquo;I resist the urge to tell people what it%26rsquo;s about because we hope it leads to many conversations and perspectives. It was designed to engage. I suppose you could say it%26rsquo;s a cultural artifact.%26rdquo; We suggest you make tracks and explore it yourself. 2201 N. Field St, 214.428.5555;


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