The British Natural History Museum is expanding its facilities to include the ultra-modern Darwin Centre, just in time to mark Darwin’s bicentennial. Work is now underway to transition various museum collections and displays into this architectural masterpiece.
Neil Greenwood, Programme Director for the Centre, explains that "[a]n innovative project like the Darwin Centre deserves to be housed in an iconic building."
C F Møller Architects, one of Scandinavia's most renowned architectural firms, delivered a distinctive, modern structure shaped like a cocoon. The state-of-the-art facility, which measures 65 meters long and 8 stories high, sits in a glass atrium that will allow the public to see behind the scenes. It will house both workspaces and close to 70 million insect and plant specimens, some of the world’s most valuable and historic collections. Environmental conditions will be carefully controlled to safeguard these scientific treasures, often “vulnerable to damage from light, humidity and pests.”
The Centre also aims to create a repository for world leaders in scientific research. Scientists from around the world will be able to collaborate on naming, identifying, and classifying organisms, as well as researching environmental changes.
The Darwin Centre is set to open in September 2009, and looks well worth a visit.
The Museum website can be accessed here: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/about-us/darwin-centre/index.html