The proposed building will be the museum’s first exhibit. It will be certified as a green building by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Additionally, it metaphorically reflects the uniqueness of Northern California in its architecture.
Visitors approach the museum along a geologic time walk depicting events in the development of Northern California.
A mountain-like feature on the building acts as a prominent landmark, guiding visitors to the entrance just as the region’s mountains have been used as landmarks for way finding from time immemorial.
Immediately upon entering the building visitors will be under a dramatic light shaft, towering high above them, forming an open and inviting lobby.
The Museum Store is immediately off to the left, and visitor amenities are down the hall to the right.
Passing through the lobby, visitors enter another high and dramatic space, the Valley Gallery. Just as the Sacramento River is the backbone of Northern California, the Valley Gallery is the backbone of the museum. The magnificent river and its many tributaries are depicted flowing from north to south right on the gallery floor, and outdoor exhibits at either end of the hall extend the experience, connecting the interior and exterior worlds.
From the centrally-located Valley Gallery visitors access the other public areas of the building, including a Temporary Exhibit Gallery space, a Discovery Room with a Demonstration Laboratory, and the Main Exhibit Gallery.
The NCNHM building reflects the character of Northern California, and will provide space for the dynamic programs of the museum, becoming a major science education center for the entire region.