Checkland scheme for Californian science park

Checkland Kindleysides has fought off stiff competition to land a seven-figure brief to work on core design aspects of the new California Academy of Sciences museum project.

The appointment comes as the academy plans a $370m (about £230m) overhaul of its 3.4ha museum space, scheduled for completion in 2008. Located in Golden Gate Park, the site houses San Francisco’s Aquarium, Natural History Museum and Planetarium.

The Leicester-based group, which saw off nine other consultancies from the UK and US in a credentials and approach pitch, will be responsible for the science research organisation’s main exhibition areas. This includes exhibits, signage, lighting and audio visual facilities, as well as restaurant, retail, customer experience and 3D brand language.

The consultancy’s brief is two-pronged, encompassing environmental and image considerations, says Checkland Kindleysides director Adam Devey-Smith.

Design and 3D branding will focus on helping the CAS shrug off its rather dusty academic image and forge a new profile.

‘We want to project the academy as a body that is willing to listen and is prepared to change,’ says Devey-Smith.

Exhibition design will also adopt a holistic approach, according to Devey-Smith, with exhibits existing collaboratively. ‘At the moment everything is segmented into separate rooms. But if you think about it, if you stand next to the sea you see the sky too so it makes sense to feature them together.’

Checkland Kindleysides will work alongside various groups, including the academy’s in-house team and architect Renzo Piano.

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