Nature meets science at Dallas’ Perot Museum

If their intent was to offer up an explicit demonstration of how nature exists in counterpoint to science in the modern world, it seems to me the designers of the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science have succeeded extravagantly.

Perot Museum, south-facing facade

Perot Museum, south-facing facade

The blatant juxtaposition begins long before a visitor enters the building. If one approaches on foot (from the Akard St. DART terminal, for instance), the effect is reinforced by the gradual emergence of the building’s facade from the urban background clutter, until it becomes the dominant feature in the northern field of view.

Stairway, Perot Museum

Stairway, Perot Museum

The exterior is made to resemble something as much organic as man-made, with its curving fronts and faux-sedimentary layers. And then there’s that steeply-angled sea-blue rectangle, seemingly appended as an afterthought to the southern wall  — the structure’s most striking visual feature. This elongated translucent tab resembles nothing so much as a gigantic version of one of the spectacular aquamarine mineral specimens on display within. Inside its glass confines, an escalator moves people upward while providing them with a stunning view of downtown Dallas.

Aquamarine

Aquamarine

Throughout the museum’s five floors are numerous overlooks where one can take in views of the floor below. Particularly on the top-most levels, it’s clear that the exhibit designers took this into account when creating their displays: There, the fossil skeletons of antediluvian giants peer effortlessly into our elevated space, demanding part of the attention we ought to be devoting to the Hall of Birds.

Alamosaurus

Alamosaurus

Some of the featured pieces will be familiar to denizens of the old Fair Park museum space. Perhaps not surprisingly, they seem more vibrant and alive in their splendid new living rooms.

Marine tableau, circa Late Cretaceous

Marine tableau, circa Late Cretaceous

I say

I say

If, as I did, you end your museum tour craving Tex-Mex, it should come as no surprise, thanks to this inadvertent visual advert for El Fenix:

Word of mouth

Word of mouth

(The restaurant across the street was packed with a long waiting line when we left the museum, so we rode the rails home and dined at the Casa Linda location instead. Tamale platter = muy bueno!)

Anyone for Tex-Mex?

Anyone for Tex-Mex?

Museum entrance and Woodall Rodgers from the 4th floor escalator

Museum entrance and Woodall Rodgers from the 4th floor escalator

Lobby view, Perot Museum

Lobby view, Perot Museum

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9 thoughts on “Nature meets science at Dallas’ Perot Museum

  1. I would love to sit in on the thought and decision processes for a place like this. What spurred the idea to put the escalator in its own glass cage, making its users a part of the exhibits? And can whoever comes up with those sort of ideas come to my house for coffee? Thanks for posting; the next time I’m in Dallas I’m going to try to get to the museum.

    • Mad Queen, his name is Thom Mayne – I’m sure he would enjoy sharing a cup of coffee with you. (To critique your home’s architecture, if nothing else.) ;>)

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