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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
(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!)