The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science project in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a 44,000 s.f. addition plus 28,000 s.f renovation of the existing museum. The project contained a large format iWerks theatre with 320 seats, an iWERKS 870 projection system, ticketing area and new entry pavilion, classrooms, vertical transportation, exhibit spaces.
The Lodestar Astronomy Center featured a planetarium with seating for 150 people, two motion simulators, a telescope observatory, video/media production areas, storage, and building support service areas. Both theatres were designed for broadcast and recording capability and have associated video/audio production spaces, lighting controls, and acoustical control. One of the major challenges of the project was to add two visually distinctive new components to an existing building which redefined and strengthened the institution’s visual image while melding with the original structure.
The museum was kept open during the renovation and addition phases. An evacuation plan was worked out with the state fire marshal and the staff due to the high percentage of the visitors that are school children. The museum’s attendance did not fall off during that construction period. The entrances and gift shop were also relocated during that same period. Signage provided the public with options for access and parking for museum events.