We put on our hard hats and got a first-hand look inside the construction of the new Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, which opens in 2016. Right now, there’s a lot of concrete and rebar, but we could finally see how the museum is coming together, and it’s impressive. Take a peek inside with us, and learn a little more about some of the museum’s innovative features.
Under the Sea
The museum’s aquarium is a mammoth feat of architecture. The Gulf Stream Tank required 24 hours of continuous concrete pouring to maintain the structural integrity it needs to hold 4 million pounds of water, and fish including tuna and sharks. You can stroll around the entire tank and get a bird’s-eye view of the swimmers, or duck through a tunnel inside the museum and look them right in the eye. The interior highlight of the Gulf Stream Tank is a 27-foot piece of 13-inch thick class imported from Italy. The designers call it ‘the oculus,’ for its lenticular shape. It represents a focused view of the Gulf Stream through the water column, and light filtered through the tank will illuminate the room below.
Raising the roof
The roof of the museum puts science to work generating both power and food for visitors.A garden on the rooftop will produce fruits, vegetables, and herbs that will be harvested and used in the museum cafeteria. A 66 kilowatt array (approximately 4,500 square feet) of solar panels installed on the roof will generate 95,370 kilowatt-hours of energy per year. That’s roughly enough electricity to power the average Florida home for seven years and 4 months, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The museum hopes to add an additional 70 kilowatts of panels on the roof of the Living Core and as shade structure throughout the building.
Look at the stars
The new planetarium features 8K full-dome projection, capable of rendering 16 million colors with resolution twice that of modern ultra HD televisions. Viewers will be immersed in seamlessly blended projections that can accurately show the sky from any point and any time on earth. It has stadium seating for 250 people, and the dome screen will be titled 23.5 degrees to match the axial tilt of the Earth.