Perot Museum Of Nature And Science

by | 03. Jan 2013

Cultural | Feature

Photo: Iwan Baan

Rejecting the notion of museum architecture as neutral background for exhibits, the new building itself becomes an active tool for science education.

The new Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Victory Park will create a distinct identity for the Museum, enhance the institution’s prominence in Dallas, and enrich the city’s evolving cultural fabric. The museum will inspire awareness of science through an immersive and interactive environment that actively engages visitors.

The immersive experience of nature within the city begins with the visitor’s approach to the museum, which leads through two native Texas ecologies: a forest of large native canopy trees and a terrace of native desert xeriscaping. The xeriscaped terrace gently slopes up to connect with the museum’s iconic stone roof. The overall building mass is conceived as a large cube floating over the site’s landscaped plinth.


Photo: Iwan Baan

An acre of undulating roofscape comprised of rock and native drought-resistant grasses reflects Dallas’s indigenous geology and demonstrates a living system that will evolve naturally over time. The intersection of these two ecologies defines the main entry plaza, a gathering and event area for visitors and an outdoor public space for the city of Dallas.

From the plaza, the landscaped roof lifts up to draw visitors through a compressed space into the more expansive entry lobby. The topography of the lobby’s undulating ceiling reflects the dynamism of the exterior landscape surface, blurring the distinction between inside and outside, and connecting the natural with the manmade.


Photo: Iwan Baan

Moving from the compressed space of the entry, a visitor’s gaze is drawn upward through the soaring open volume of the sky-lit atrium, the building’s primary light-filled circulation space, which houses the building’s stairs, escalators and elevators.

From the ground floor, a series of escalators bring visitors through the atrium to the uppermost level of the museum and a fully glazed sky balcony high above the city. From this sky balcony, visitors proceed downward in a clockwise spiral path through the galleries. This dynamic spatial procession creates a visceral experience that engages visitors and establishes an immediate connection to the immersive architectural and natural environment of the museum.


Photo: Iwan Baan


Photo: Iwan Baan

The path descending from the top floor through the museum’s galleries weaves in and out of the building’s main circulation atrium, alternately connecting the visitor with the internal world of the museum and with the external life of the city beyond.

By integrating architecture, nature, and technology, the building demonstrates scientific principles and stimulates curiosity in our natural surroundings.

As our global environment faces ever more critical challenges, a broader understanding of the interdependence of natural systems is becoming more essential to our survival and evolution. Museums dedicated to nature and science play a key role in expanding our understanding of these complex systems.


Drawing courtesy Morphosis Sketch


Drawing courtesy Morphosis Site Plan


Drawing courtesy Morphosis Ground Level Plan


Drawing courtesy Morphosis Section



Model photo courtesy Morphosis


Drawing courtesy Morphosis Program Diagram Galleries

Morphosis arcspace features


CITY Dallas, Texas
ARCHITECT Arne Emerson