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Project Team Selected for Capital Renovation

March 7, 2014


Contact:  Glenda Bogar, 216-231-2071

Project Team Selected for Museum’s $125 Million Capital Renovation
and Expansion

Museum assembles team that demonstrates its bold vision for reinventing its campus

Cleveland . . . 2014 is an important year in the journey to reinvent The Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s campus. One of the most significant milestones has just been reached: the formation of the project team that will design and engineer the Museum’s $125 million renovation and expansion. Recently gathered together in Cleveland for the first time, the principals at each of the project team firms expressed their excitement about this unique opportunity to create a new Museum that will showcase the Museum’s collections and research, and more actively engage visitors of all ages in science and nature.

“Our selection process was rigorous as we sought the most innovative firms working in green building, museum exhibit design and sustainable engineering,” said Dr. Evalyn Gates, the Museum’s executive director and CEO. “We wanted a project team that matched our bold vision. Our community deserves nothing less.” 

The project team firms will spend the spring working together on the schematic design for the building, with a finalized plan for the building’s architecture expected this summer. It is a unique approach to assemble the entire project team early during the schematic design of the building. Gates and the board of trustees believe there will be great efficiencies, innovations and success achieved by planning collectively and allowing the design of exhibits and galleries to inform the building’s architecture, and vice versa.

When complete, the renovation and expansion will have touched every part of the Museum’s campus and every aspect of the visitor’s experience. The renovated and expanded building will house a unique integration of labs, collections and research throughout the public galleries to showcase the Museum’s world-renowned assets and the discoveries behind them.  Living collections will be presented more dramatically to offer visitors transformational interactions with the natural world.  Each aspect of the design and engineering will be developed with the objective of creating a new model for sustainable building and energy management in the museum field, and one that is visible to the public as an exhibit unto itself.

“Our project will allow us to install and interpret the Museum’s collections and research in a way that reconnects people with the natural world, from their own backyards to the most distant galaxies,” said Gates.

Over one-third of the funds needed to reach groundbreaking in 2016 have been raised. Both the project and the fundraising to support it are in a heightened state of momentum. Creating this new museum for the community will be a collaborative process with members, visitors and civic leaders throughout Northeast Ohio. Public forums to allow members of the community to engage in the process and interact with the project team firms will be planned later in 2014.

The following firms comprise the project team:

Design Architect:  Fentress Architects, Denver

A global design firm passionately pursuing the creation of sustainable and iconic architecture, Principal Curtiss Fentress has been awarded the U.S. architecture field’s highest honor, the Thomas Jefferson Award. Signature projects include the National Museum of the Marine Corps and the National Museum of Wildlife Art.

Design Engineer:  Buro Happold, New York

At the forefront of low energy design, the firm delivers projects that have less carbon emissions and are more sustainable. Their work spans the globe from Los Angeles to Moscow and includes such signature projects as the Museum of Liverpool, the largest newly created museum in the United Kingdom in more than 100 years.

Exhibit Designers:  Reich & Petch, Toronto, and Thinc Design, New York

With complementing skills, selecting these two exhibit design firms brings together thought leaders working in museum exhibit design across the globe known for their engaging, beautiful and boldly innovative exhibits. Reich & Petch’s portfolio includes gallery and exhibit design for the Royal Ontario Museum, the Saudi Arabian National Museum and the Smithsonian. Thinc Design’s portfolio includes the exhibit and public experience design at the rainforest exhibit and aquarium in the California Academy of Science, the Freedom Center in Pretoria, South Africa and the soon-to-open National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center.

Architect of Record:  URS, Cleveland

URS is a national firm with a large Cleveland office that has been offering architectural and engineering services to both public and private sector clients in and around the City of Cleveland for over 50 years. Recent projects include the University of Akron’s College of Arts and Sciences Building, the Columbus International Airport terminal expansion and parking garage and the Cleveland Clinic Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center.

Engineer of Record:  Osborn Engineering, Cleveland

Osborn is a Cleveland employee-owned firm founded over 125 years ago. Today the firm works on complex projects that require sophisticated, practical, innovative and even artful engineering solutions. Across Ohio, recent projects include Cleveland Clinic’s Westlake campus, the Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Ohio Stadium and the Lorain County Community College Barbara and Mike Bass Library/Community Resource Center. 

Construction Manager/General Contractor:  Panzica/Gilbane, Cleveland

No stranger to Cleveland’s University Circle, the construction companies of Panzica and Gilbane have collaborated on a variety of important community projects throughout Cleveland including the recent completion of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s renovation and expansion, on budget and on time.

Owner’s Representative:  Project Management Consultants, Cleveland

PMC’s owner’s representation services offers the Museum a highly adept team of attorneys, architects and other professionals all focused on managing seamlessly the complexities of this capital project. Among the many civic projects on which PMC has worked in Cleveland recently are the new Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University’s student center and the Medical Mart/Global Innovation Center in downtown Cleveland.

About The Cleveland Museum of Natural History

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, incorporated in 1920, is one of the finest institutions of its kind in North America. It is noted for its collections, research, educational programs and exhibits. The collections encompass more than 5 million artifacts and specimens, and research of global significance focuses on 10 natural science disciplines. The Museum conserves biological diversity through the protection of more than 5,800 acres of natural areas. It promotes health education with local programs and distance learning that extends across the globe. Its GreenCityBlueLake Institute is a center of thought and practice for the design of green and sustainable cities.  

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History receives public support with local tax dollars from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, to preserve and enrich the region’s artistic and cultural heritage. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is located at 1 Wade Oval Drive in University Circle, 15 minutes east of downtown Cleveland.