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Design Consultant: Ennead Architects LLP
Location: Queens
Client Agency: Department of Cultural Affairs

Overview: The New York Hall of Science, one of the country’s premier science and technology museums, is located in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens. The museum gained a major addition to its facility, accommodating the increased visitors with exhibit areas and supporting space. The new building is a long low volume that extends north from, and serves as a horizontal counterpoint to, the iconic “Great Hall” of the original Harrison and Abramovitz building, which housed space travel exhibits at the 1964 NY World’s Fair.

Sustainable Features: The dramatic new wing embraces natural light, in contrast to the dark exhibit halls of the existing building. The new “Hall of Light” is suffused with muted white light, using a translucent fiberglass insulating panel system as envelope for both wall and roof. This choice allows for generous daylight in the permanent exhibit space and significantly reduces electrical lighting requirements. A transparent base, which wraps the northern end of the building, allows passersby glimpses into the Hall’s interior. Sunlight itself plays a role in the main exhibition hall. A “light wall” or solar sculpture at the terminus of the space calls attention to the movement of the sun during the day. The sun, passing through perforated colored metal panels, creates a constantly shifting pattern of color and texture on the wall and floor.

The design team achieved a significant energy savings with these daylighting strategies, as well as low-emissivity glass, additional insulation, temperature stratification in the exhibit hall, a new high-efficiency chiller, variable frequency drives on pumps, and warmest zone controls for the variable air volume system. These sustainable strategies were accomplished under the client’s requirement that any high performance features not add first cost to the project.

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Sustainable Site

Open space protected and restored
Stormwater retained on site
Alternate transportation nearby
Urban Heat Island Effect mitigated
Community outdoor recreation and program space provided

Existing paving removed and replaced with meadow
Native grasses, wildflowers, and drought-resistant plants
Light-colored roofing
Light-colored paving used
Urban setting near public transportation


Water Efficiency

Potable water use reduced in building over 1992 Energy Policy Act
Landscaping is not irrigated

Low-flow fixtures, metered faucets
Native drought-resistant plant requiring no irrigation



Energy use reduced 41% over a baseline NYS Energy Conservation Code
for the new wing
Annual energy savings of over $60,000 ($45,400 for the new wing and ~
$15,000 for the existing building)
Emissions reduced
Payback – 10 years simple payback of energy conserving measures for the
new wing
System-operations integrated

Extensive daylighting for exhibition and staff spaces
High-performance lighting, daylight dimming, occupancy sensors
Envelope improved with insulation and high-performance glass
Temperature stratification in exhibit hall
Warmest zone controls for the VAV system
BMS controls for new and existing mechanical equipment
Demand-based ventilation in permanent exhibit spaces
High-efficiency variable-air-volume system, fans, pump motors
New efficient chiller/controls/economizer for existing building


Material Conservation

Existing building was saved
Construction and demolition waste - approx. 50% diverted from landfill
Recycled materials used

Existing building renovated as well as expanded
Construction and demolition waste sorted at off-site facility
Major materials targeted for recycled content, including steel, aluminum, and
rubber flooring


Healthy Interiors

Daylight maximized to exhibit areas and enclosed offices
Views outside for regular occupied personnel space
Occupant-controlled lighting, heating, and cooling

Diffused natural light from translucent, insulated fiberglass panel system for
walls and roof
Expansive glazing, operable windows and occupant controls for thermal


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