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Miami Science Museum Releases New Images, Announces Delays

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The Miami Science Museum released renderings of its proposed $275 million new building this week, in addition to announcing a new timetable for the construction. Gillian Thomas, president and CEO of the museum, said the building, originally set to open in 2011, is now on course for completion in late 2013. With another six to nine months required to build out the interior, the earliest the museum could open would be 2014.

"The process has taken longer than we originally thought," Thomas says. "But the benefit has been that we were given more time to spend on the design process and I think the new museum will be better for it."

The "process" Thomas refers to was getting the $175 million bond, approved in 2004, through the various agencies in the city and county, a process she says was slowed by those same agencies being focused on the Florida Marlins stadium project. "The baseball stadium got priority," she says. "But the city and county could not have tried harder. They're just not easy issues to resolve."

The new building, designed by London's Grimshaw Architects, is set to begin construction, and the images released by the museum -- detailed on its new blog -- reveal a technologically savvy structure that puts an emphasis on environmental awareness. Sun, wind, and rain will all be harnessed into renewable energies in front of visitors, and there will even be a "sustainable dance floor" -- the first of its kind in the United States -- that lights up when people step on it, and revolving doors that act as mini-turbines.

"The idea is to make the building an exhibit in its own right," she says.

The design bears certain similarities to the museum's future neighbor, the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Miami Art Museum. According to Thomas, both firms were cognizant of being placed side-by-side, so both feature a fluid relationship to the surrounding park, an emphasis on green sustainability, and thin exterior columns. The science museum, however, according to Thomas, places more of an emphasis on blurring the line between indoors and outdoors.

"We wanted to really break down the threshold," she says, "[so] you'll be experiencing the musuem even before you buy a ticket."

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