09.09.2008

Natural History Museum extension by Danish architects CF Møller

The second phase of the Darwin Centre at London’s Natural History Museum has been unveiled in early September. The eight-storey extension houses a giant cocoon structure within a glass atrium "both symbolically and actually providing protection to the collections housed within" (Neil Greenwood, Programme Director, Darwin Centre).

This temperature-controlled cocoon, linking the historic Waterhouse Building and the museum’s gardens,  is designed to protect the museum’s dry collections – some 28 million insects and sixt million plant specimens. There will also be laboratories for up to 200 researchers inside. The curved structure is made of sprayed concrete. It’s 3500 square metre surface is hand-finished with polished plaster mixed with powdered marble to match that used for the floor. The irregular plaster panels are bound in steel channels symbolising the silk-like threads of a real cocoon in nature. The new Darwin Centre will open to the public in September 2009. Visitors will be able to view insect and plant collections, watch scientists at work and take part in events at the David Attenborough Studio.
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