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California Academy of Sciences opens green building

California Academy of SciencesTwo years after breaking ground, the new California Academy of Sciences opens its new green building’s doors to the public on September 27.

The building, designed by architect Renzo Piano, features a 197,000-square-foot green roof that dips and slopes, mirroring its surroundings in Golden Gate Park. After experimenting with 30 native species, nine species were chosen to flourish in the park’s climate—these will thrive with little water, resist the salt spray from ocean air, and tolerate wind. The roof will provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. A future project will seek to introduce the endangered San Bruno elfin butterfly and the Bay checkerspot butterfly to this new habitat. An open-air observation terrace enables visitors to get a close-up look at the roof’s canopy of plants.

The new building houses an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and a 4-story rainforest, as well as the Academy science labs and offices, including a scientific archive consisting of more than 20 million specimens.

Photo courtesy California Academy of Sciences