San Francisco ,California

ARCHITECT- RENZO PIANO Total area: 410,000 square feet Total public space: 100,000 square feet Completed: 2008 G+3 building


‡ On October 7, 2008, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded the Academy a Platinum-level LEED certification. The program, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), was launched by the council in 1998.

The Academy is now the largest public Platinum-rated building in the world, and also the world¶s greenest museum with a total score of 54 points.







Points for the coveted LEED certificate are awarded in five key areas:
1. Sustainable site development, 2. Water savings, 3. Energy efficiency, 4. Materials selection, and 5. Indoor environmental quality.

‡The 6´ of soil substrate on the roof act as natural insulation, and every year will keep approximately 3.6 million gallons of rainwater from becoming storm water. ‡The steep slopes of the roof also act as a natural ventilation system, funneling cool air into the open-air plaza on sunny days

‡keeping interior temperatures about 10 degrees cooler than a standard roof and reducing low frequency noise by 40 decibels. ‡ It will also decrease the urban heat island effect, staying about 40 degrees cooler than a standard roof.


‡Surrounding the Living Roof is a large glass canopy with a decorative band of 60,000 photovoltaic cells. ‡These solar panels will generate approximately 213,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per year and provide up to 10% of the Academy's electricity need. ‡The use of solar power will prevent the release of 405,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emission into the air.

. The skylights perform as both ambient light sources and a cooling system, automatically opening on warm days to vent hot air from the building.

‡Skylights, providing natural light to the rainforest and aquarium, are designed to open and close automatically. ‡As hot air rises throughout the day, the skylights will open to allow hot air out from the top of the Academy while louvers below draw in cool air to the lower floors without the need for huge fans or chemical coolants.

‡The expansive, floor-to-ceiling walls of glass will enable 90% of the building's interior offices to use lighting from natural sources. ‡The glass used in these perimeter walls surrounding the public floor were specially constructed with low-iron content. This feature removes a common green tint, providing exceptional clarity. From almost any point inside the museum, visitors will be able to see the park outside in all its seasonal colors.

‡The building will also feature operable office windows that employees can open and close as needed. ‡On the main guest floor, an automated ventilation system takes advantage of the natural air currents of Golden Gate Park to regulate the temperature of the building. Throughout the day and night, louvers will open and close, providing fresh air and cooling the building thereby reducing the dependence on traditional HVAC systems and chemical coolants.

Warm air rises. A traditional forced-air heating system for the 35-foot-high public spaces in the museum would be wasteful in the extreme. Instead, the Academy is installing a radiant heating system in the museum¶s floors. Tubes embedded in the concrete floor will carry hot water that warms the floor. The proximity of the heat to the people who need it will reduce the building¶s energy need by an estimated 10% annually.

The iconic hills on the roof were designed not only for visual impact but also for energy conservation. These hills, which feature slopes in excess of 60 degrees, will draw cool air into the open piazza at the center of the building, naturally ventilating the surrounding exhibit spaces.

‡Strategically placed skylights will automatically open and close to allow heat to escape through the tops of the domes. ‡ These skylights will also allow sunlight to reach the living rainforest and coral reef exhibits below, reducing the energy requirements for artificial lighting. ‡The dramatic four-story ³Rainforests of the World" exhibit will offer a vertical journey through four different rainforest habitats.

The roof is bordered by a glass canopy containing nearly 60,000 photo voltaic cells, which will produce over 5 percent of the Academy's annual energy needs and prevent the release of over 405,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year. These photo voltaic cells, clearly visible in the glass canopy, provide both shade and visual interest for the visitors below

‡Piano's goal was to create a sense of transparency and connectedness between the building and the park through both a careful selection of materials and a thoughtful arrangement of space. ‡Glass is used extensively in the exterior walls, allowing visitors to look through the museum to the surrounding green space of the park along both the eastwest axis and the north-south axis of the building. ‡ The glass, which is manufactured in Germany, is famous for its especially clear composition.

To enhance the open, airy feeling created by the glass, Piano designed the central support columns to be extremely slender. A series of carefully configured cables will prevent these slim columns from bending. The concrete for the walls and floors is untreated, continuing the emphasis on natural materials.


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