The Academy of Science building, set in Golden Gate Park is my favourite contemporary green building in San Francisco. With $500 million dollars spent of the 10 years of its making, it is not the most ethical investment in a city with such poverty but in firing up an interest in science, it has certainly been a huge success. Designed by Renzo Piano, the building seamlessley incorporates some built heritage with the new structure of steel, glass and grass.
Not only is the building itself enticing and its displays but the weekly Thursday night events in summer, with cheaper entry, cocktails, beer and wine and groovy tunes from various dj's, draw in crowds to match those on the weekend. This, however, is a more chilled out flood of people, perhaps assisted by the drink and ambient trance music and lack of charged-up or cranky children. All the displays are accessible and the rooftop terrace beside the 7-mounded roof (reflecting the 7 hills of San Francisco) is a great spot to watch the sun set and enjoy the outdoors and views of Golden Gate Park.
Here are some sustainable achievements from the museum website:
"The Material World:
90% of all demolition materials were recycled
32,000 tons of sand from foundation excavation applied to dune restoration projects in San Francisco
95% of all steel from recycled sources
15% fly ash (a recycled coal by-product), 35% slag in concrete
50% of lumber harvested from sustainable-yield forests
68% of insulation comes from recycled blue jeans
90% of office space will have natural light and ventilation
60,000 photovoltaic cells; 213,000 kilowatt-hours
30% less energy consumption than federal code requirement"
For more information, see the Academy website