Project News

Gilder Center Project Update

4/18/2019

Today, the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division dismissed the challenge to the American Museum of Natural History’s Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation project and unanimously affirmed the lower court ruling in the Museum’s favor in December.  

The Gilder Center is a 230,000-square foot project that will significantly enhance the Museum’s science, education, and exhibition spaces and improve visitor experience with an architectural design by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang. The Gilder Center will be a major new resource for science education for all New Yorkers and visitors from around the world, and we are extremely pleased that we can now turn our attention to proceeding with the project.  

The Gilder Center project will also make vital connections among the Museum’s buildings and include a redesign of the adjacent part of Theodore Roosevelt Park. 

Gilder Center Project Update

4/10/2019

Since the last update, removal of interior building components of the Weston building and the two adjacent buildings that formerly housed the Museum’s Ichthyology Department has continued. Next steps include selective removal of the glass exterior and roof of the Weston building, with a resulting increase in the number of workers and trucks onsite.

The Museum continues to work to minimize disruption throughout the construction project, and Zac Campbell remains the main contact for Gilder Center construction-related questions or concerns from the neighborhood. He can be reached at 212-769-5243.

We also wanted to pass along information unrelated to the Gilder Center, concerning work that you may see in Theodore Roosevelt Park over the next few days. Friends of Theodore Roosevelt Park has informed the Museum that, working with NYC Parks and Emerald Tree Care, they conducted an assessment and found that four trees in the Park are structurally unsound due to rot. This past weekend, NYC Parks closed a portion of the path near the Nobel Monument due to potential risks to public safety and determined that the four affected trees need to be removed in the coming weeks. More information can be found on the Friends of Theodore Roosevelt Park website here

Gilder Center Project Update

2/6/2019

Yesterday, a panel of appellate judges issued a decision that allows all work on the Gilder Center to move forward while an appeal of New York State Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the project proceeds in appellate court.

As work resumes, vehicles will be entering the construction site from Columbus Avenue to facilitate delivery of materials and other site preparation activities. Work will include ground protection and clearing lamp posts, fencing, and other materials in the work area; tree protection for trees that will remain for the duration of the project and tree removal; and top soil removal.

Some of this work will create low-level construction noise. The Museum will be working to minimize disruption throughout the construction project, and Zac Campbell remains the main contact for Gilder Center construction-related questions or concerns from the neighborhood. He can be reached at 212-769-5243.

 

Gilder Center Project Update

1/10/2019

On December 17, the group opposing the Gilder Center project filed a notice of appeal of the New York State Supreme Court’s decision dismissing their lawsuit. On December 18, they sought an interim stay and a stay pending appeal. An appellate judge issued an interim stay, preventing the Museum from proceeding with certain exterior work until the full panel of appellate judges determines whether to issue a stay pending appeal. The panel will review the motion for a stay pending appeal on an expedited basis, and that decision could be issued later this month.

Gilder Center Project Update

12/14/2018

Beginning next week, the Museum will resume preparations of the construction site for the Gilder Center project.

Vehicles will be entering the site from Columbus Avenue to facilitate delivery of materials and other site preparation activities, including adding ground protection and clearing lamp posts, fencing, and other materials in the work area, which will continue through mid-January. Pruning of the roots of several trees that will remain for the duration of the project will begin early next week as part of the approved tree protection plan and in accordance with New York City Department of Parks and Recreation guidelines.

In addition, work will begin on the seven trees that will be removed, followed by top soil removal, and there also will be work on the exterior of the building to the south of the construction site. This work will create low-level construction noise. Six new canopy trees and 16 new understory trees will be planted after construction is completed as part of the landscape plan for the western portion of the Park. 

The Museum is working to minimize disruption throughout the construction project. Zac Campbell remains the main contact for Gilder Center construction-related questions or concerns from the neighborhood. He can be reached at 212-769-5243.

Gilder Center Project Update

12/11/2018

Following a decision by Judge Lynn R. Kotler on Monday, December 10, the Museum will move forward with the Gilder Center project. Judge Kotler dismissed the lawsuit and affirmed that the Museum followed all appropriate procedures in preparation for the Gilder Center project. The expansion will significantly enhance Museum education programs, visitors’ experiences, and scientific work.

We are very excited about moving forward and bringing this important project to fruition, and we will be updating you soon about upcoming work. The Museum will work closely with our partners to minimize any disruption throughout the construction project. In the meantime, Zac Campbell remains the main contact for any Gilder Center construction-related questions or concerns from the neighborhood. He can be reached at 212-769-5243.

Gilder Center Project Update

11/26/2018

Dear Neighbor,

As you may know, the American Museum of Natural History was created 150 years ago by New Yorkers who believed that this City needed a great museum to advance scientific research and to serve as a center of learning for school children and visitors. Those goals are still at the heart of our mission—and are even more crucial today. 

I’m Michael Novacek, Senior Vice President and Provost of Science at the Museum, and I oversee the Museum’s scientific research and exhibitions. I am reaching out to you today to share the tremendous progress that we are making on the Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, the new building planned for the west side of our campus, and to share more about why this project is such an important part of the Museum’s service to New York and beyond:

You may have heard about a lawsuit challenging the project. I’d like to correct mischaracterizations that have been raised with some important facts: 

In short, this is an important civic project that is in the public interest, which is why it has the support of public officials, without exception, and of Manhattan Community Board 7 and civic groups such as New Yorkers for Parks and Friends of Theodore Roosevelt Park.

I hope you find this update helpful. If you have any questions, please call 212-769-5246 or email gildercenter@amnh.org.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Novacek, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President and Provost of Science
Curator and Professor of Paleontology
American Museum of Natural History

Gilder Center Project Update

11/5/18

On Friday, November 2, the Museum won an important victory when an Appellate Court judge considerably limited the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) imposed on the Gilder Center project, allowing work to proceed today, Monday, November 5. 

David Paget (Sive, Paget & Riesel, P.C.), attorney for the American Museum of Natural History, issued the following statement on Friday, November 2:

“Today the American Museum of Natural History won a significant victory that will allow work to proceed immediately on the Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. Interior work and other necessary exterior work will begin Monday. For the time being, the Museum will not proceed with the removal of 7 trees pending determination of the overall merits of the case, on which we fully expect to prevail. We further expect the Gilder Center will move ahead as proposed, because both the authoritative legal precedent (from the highest court of New York State, as well as other court decisions) and the civic purposes of the project are clear. The City and the Museum have relied on and acted consistently in accordance with the more than 140-year-old New York State legislation, authorizing use of the Park for the Museum, and lease, and a full, transparent, and open engagement with the public, including hundreds of meetings, public hearings, and town halls. This project continues the Museum’s steadfast commitment to improve Theodore Roosevelt Park and the surrounding neighborhood, while also advancing its scientific and educational mission.”

 

Gilder Center Project Update

10/1/18

The 80th Street park path was completed and opened for use on September 25, and the installation of the construction site fence has begun. There are directional signs in the Park indicating park paths as well as signage informing Museum visitors to enter via the Rose Center for Earth and Space entrance on 81st Street.

The installation of the construction site fence is in progress and, as mentioned in the August 30 update, will be followed by the removal of the pedestrian islands at 79th Street and Columbus Avenue to allow for the creation of temporary protected bike and pedestrian paths in the curb lane. This work will begin as early as Thursday, October 4, and it will include the closure of the crosswalks at 79th Street. Pedestrians will still be able to use Columbus Avenue but will need to cross at 78th Street or 80th Street. The bicycle lane will remain open.

After the pedestrian islands are removed, the bike and pedestrian paths on the east side of Columbus Avenue will be shifted to run around the site fence. The pedestrian islands will be restored, and the 79th Street crosswalks will be reopened, once the Gilder Center is completed.
The Sunday 79th Street Greenmarket on Columbus Avenue will remain open, but beginning October 7 the farmers who usually set up north of 79th Street will move around the corner to 77th Street. The Museum is coordinating with NYC Department of Transportation, NYC Parks, and GrowNYC, which runs the greenmarket, on this transition. For more information, please check GrowNYC’s website

Gilder Center Project Update

8/30/18

The fountains and lower portion of the Ross Terrace will reopen on Saturday, following the placement of trailers on the upper terrace. Visitors can access the Ross Terrace by using the staircase from Theodore Roosevelt Park or by entering the Rose Center at 81st Street and following signs to the second floor, where a new ADA-compliant entry leads to the Terrace from the Scales of the Universe walk.

Earlier this month the Museum's Columbus Avenue entrance (at 79th Street) was closed for interior demolition. There are directional signs in the Park informing visitors to enter the Museum from 81st Street.

There are ongoing preparations for the installation of the construction site fence. In the first two weeks of September, work is expected to begin on the temporary park access path near 80th Street. Tree protection will also be installed over the next several weeks, based on consultation with the New York City Parks Department. Once the path is installed and the tree protection is installed, the installation of the site fence will begin. Materials for this work, and for the site fence, will be delivered and staged in the park. With installation of the site fence, the pedestrian islands at 79th Street will be removed to allow for temporary protected pedestrian and bicycle paths around the site fence. This work is expected to take approximately 4-6 weeks following the installation of the temporary park path.

Tree removal and removal and storage of the landmarked stone piers at the West 79th Street entrance to the Park will begin after the site fence is installed. New trees will be planted and the piers will be reinstalled at the 79th Street entrance as part of the Park improvements the Museum will be making toward the end of the construction period.

 

Gilder Center Project Update

8/9/18

The lower terrace and fountains were closed August 6 and will remain closed for approximately three weeks to allow for the installation of trailers on the upper terrace. The trailers, which will temporarily house the Museum's Ichthyology Department, will be lifted by crane from the horseshoe driveway at the Museum's parking garage and onto the terrace (weather permitting). The crane will be onsite on August 16, with work going on overnight from approximately 6 pm until approximately 6 am on August 17. Because of its proximity to the crane, the Bull Moose Dog run will be closed while the crane operation is taking place (starting at approximately 8 pm) and will open at the regularly scheduled time (6 am) the next morning.

In mid-August the Museum will be closing the Weston Pavilion, our Columbus Avenue entrance, and beginning demolition inside that building.

The Museum will begin installing the site fence around the construction area in late August/early September. Before the site fence installation can begin, a temporary park path will be created at Columbus Avenue near 80th Street, to maintain continued access to Theodore Roosevelt Park and the Bull Moose Dog Run during construction. Pedestrian and bicycle circulation on Columbus Avenue will be maintained. The bike lane will be shifted west to accommodate the creation of a pedestrian walkway adjacent to the curb. Signs and barriers will be installed for the safety of the public passing through this area. The vehicular lanes of traffic will remain as they are.

In the next few weeks, arborists will be working with the NYC Parks Department to survey the park and to identify the trees that will require protection during construction. NYC Parks Department tree protection measures, including plywood enclosures as needed, will be placed around the protected trees. Other vegetation, fencing, and park furniture will be cleared from the construction area. Tree removal and removal and storage of the landmarked stone piers at the West 79th Street entrance to the Park will begin after the site fence is installed. New trees will be planted and the piers will be reinstalled at the 79th Street entrance as part of the Park improvements the Museum will be making toward the end of the construction period.

 

Gilder Center Project Update

7/18/18

Earlier this month, the Museum and Community Board 7 convened the first meeting of the Gilder Center Construction Task Force, which includes representatives from neighborhood groups. The Task Force will meet on a monthly basis to discuss construction-related issues. Zac Campbell remains the main contact for any Gilder Center construction-related questions or concerns from the neighborhood. You can reach him at 212-769-5243 or zcampbell@amnh.org.

Thursday, July 19, after the Museum closes, Santiago Calatrava’s New York Times Capsule sculpture will be relocated. The plan to relocate the Times Capsule was approved by Community Board 7’s Parks and Environment committee in June, and by Community Board 7’s Full Board and the New York City Public Design Commission earlier this month. The Times Capsule, currently located in Theodore Roosevelt Park near Columbus Avenue and 79th Street, will be removed and temporarily stored before its reinstallation in its new location in the park along the 81st Street side of the Museum, near the entrance to the Rose Center for Earth and Space.

Over the past few months, three street trees and more than 90 shrubs have been relocated within Theodore Roosevelt Park.  Arborists are currently implementing measures to help the trees recover from the transplant process and adjust to their new location.

The lower terrace and fountains, which reopened in June after a brief closure, are scheduled to be closed on or around August 6 for approximately three weeks to allow for the installation of trailers on the upper terrace. The trailers, which will temporarily house the Museum’s Ichthyology Department, will be lifted by crane from the horseshoe driveway at the Museum’s parking garage and onto the terrace. The crane will be onsite to lift the trailers within a single 48-hour time period during the terrace closure. All crane work will occur at night, and we will be sharing additional details as we get closer to the work.

Separately from the Gilder Center project, to accommodate work for another project, one of the windows of the Museum’s façade along Columbus Avenue near 78th Street (next to the Museum’s service drive) will be converted into a temporary passageway, and a second temporary passageway will be created at the northern end of that same building (facing north into Theodore Roosevelt Park).

Gilder Center Project Update

6/22/18

Following a short closure due to Gilder Center preparatory work, the lower portion of the Arthur Ross Terrace reopened this week, and the fountains are now on.

The upper terrace will remain closed for the duration of the Gilder Center project, and the lower terrace will close temporarily later this summer to allow for the placement of trailers on the upper terrace.

 

Preparatory Activities Continue

5/25/18 

Preparatory work for the Gilder Center project continues this month. Bartlett Tree Experts, advised by NYC Parks, will be relocating some of the shrubbery and plantings, as well as 3 street trees, to other locations within Theodore Roosevelt Park.

Preparatory work will also begin on the Ross Terrace. Prior to constructing the Gilder Center, some Museum functions will need to be relocated into temporary trailers that will be placed on a portion of the Terrace (the ‘upper terrace,’ where the tables and chairs are currently located).

To prepare this area, the Ross Terrace will be closed for approximately two to three weeks beginning June 4; the temporary trailers will not be placed until a later date. During this time, the pavers on the upper terrace will be removed and temporary fencing will be installed. This work will be done during the day and is not expected to be noisy. While the upper terrace will remain closed for the duration of the Gilder Center construction, the ‘lower terrace’ (the east-west path with benches) and fountains will reopen once this work on the upper terrace is completed.

 

Museum Advances Design and Begins Preparatory Activities

4/27/2018

The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation (NYC Parks) and the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved recent refinements to the design for the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, and preparatory work is underway on the 230,000-square-foot project, which will link advanced education and exhibition spaces with the Museum’s scientific facilities and collections.

Design refinements include an adjustment to the height of the parapet adjacent to the Museum’s southern-most building on Columbus Avenue, which will be 8 feet lower, for a more fluid connection at roof level; a connection between the two sides of the new Columbus Avenue entrance via an arching element; the separation of the roof skylight into a series of smaller skylights that allow for the roof on each side to be connected between the skylights and retain the sustainability benefits of a skylight system; and the reduction of bulk in the northeast side of the building, visible from the Ross Terrace, with the central window set back into the building. The unifying material for the northeast side of the building will be brick rather than copper. In addition, Studio Gang has made an interior enhancement to improve east-west circulation with a more centrally located staircase in the central exhibition hall, leading to a second-floor landing. Please see updated renderings in the About the Project section of the Gilder Center website.

The NYC Parks approval letter is available for public review at http://nyc.gov/parks/amnh-gilder

If you have any questions, please call 212-769-5246 or email GilderCenter@amnh.org.

 

NYC Parks Issues Statement of Findings and Approves Gilder Center Project

12/4/2017

Today the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation (NYC Parks) approved the Museum’s plans for the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, following completion of the environmental review process and issuance of its Statement of Findings. This approval allows the Museum to proceed with its plans to build the 245,000-square-foot project that will reveal current science to visitors of all ages through cutting-edge exhibitions and innovative educational programming.

The Statement of Findings and the approval letter are available for public review at http://nyc.gov/parks/amnh-gilder and at the following locations: 

NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks)

The Arsenal in Central Park (contact Owen Wells, below)

St. Agnes Library (444 Amsterdam Avenue)

If you have any questions, please call 212-769-5246 or email GilderCenter@amnh.org

 

NYC Parks Issues Final EIS

11/15/2017

On November 15, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) issued the final Gilder Center Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS is available for public review at http://nyc.gov/parks/amnh-gilder and at the following locations:

NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks)

The Arsenal in Central Park (contact Owen Wells, below)

St. Agnes Library (444 Amsterdam Avenue)

If you have any questions, please call 212-769-5246 or email GilderCenter@amnh.org

 

NYC Parks Issues Draft EIS, Sets Public Hearing for June 15

5/18/2017

On May 18, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation issued the draft Gilder Center Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The draft EIS is available for public review at http://nyc.gov/parks/amnh-gilder or at the following locations: NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks), The Arsenal in Central Park (contact Owen Wells, below); and St. Agnes Library, 444 Amsterdam Avenue.

NYC Parks will hold a public hearing on the draft EIS for the Gilder Center on Thursday, June 15, at 6:00 pm at the American Museum of Natural History. Enter at Weston Pavilion entrance, Columbus Avenue and West 79th Street, New York, NY 10024, and proceed to the LeFrak Theater.

Written comments will also be accepted by NYC Parks until 5:00 pm on June 26, 2017, addressed to the following address, fax number, or email address:

Contact person: Owen Wells, Director of Environmental Review

New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
The Arsenal, Central Park
830 Fifth Avenue, Room 401
New York, NY 10065

Telephone: 212-360-3492
Fax: 212-360-3453
Email: owen.wells@parks.nyc.gov

If you have any questions, please call 212-769-5246 or email GilderCenter@amnh.org

 

More Details About Exhibits, Programs for New Gilder Center Announced

1/12/2017

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The multi-story, 21,000-square-foot, glass-walled Collections Core will be both a critical resource and a spectacular feature of the Gilder Center, revealing the specimens and artifacts that scientists use to investigate and answer fundamental questions, identify new species, and formulate new research questions and directions. 

Courtesy of Ralph Appelbaum Associates

On January 11, 2017, the Museum unveiled developing details about the new spaces, programs, and exhibits that will be housed in the proposed Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. The project will house resources for education, exhibition, and research, and reveal modern science to visitors of all ages. 

An Insectarium on the first floor will introduce visitors to some of the most abundant and diverse animals in the world through specimens from the Museum’s collections alongside live insects, scientific tools, and digital displays. And above the Insectarium, visitors will be able to encounter live butterflies from around the world in the Butterfly Vivarium, one of the Museum’s most popular seasonal exhibits, now a year-round living exhibition.

A multi-story, glass-walled Collections Core will house 3.9 million specimens and artifacts from the Museum’s incomparable collections, while the immersive Invisible Worlds Theater will help visitors visualize data and concepts that don’t lend themselves to traditional exhibition—nothing will be too fast, too slow, too small, or too deep in time to be explored in this new space.

In addition, the Gilder Center project will include next-generation classrooms for different age groups in dedicated learning zones. These will include classrooms in a Family Learning Zone, a Middle School Learning Zone that will invite in New York City schools without laboratory facilities to attend “research field trips," a High School Learning Zone, and a Teacher Professional Development Zone.  

Designed by Studio Gang Architects under the leadership of Jeanne Gang and featuring exhibit design by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, the facility is expected to open in 2020, after the conclusion of the Museum’s 150th anniversary celebration.

“By showcasing the frontiers of research in ways that align with how people learn today, the Gilder Center will empower our visitors to directly engage with 21st-century science and with the larger world around them, while offering inspiring new spaces and opportunities for share learning, discovery, and community,” says Museum President Ellen V. Futter.