The exciting 250,000 square foot Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science (Frost Science) in Miami, brings together an aquarium, planetarium and science museum onto one campus in downtown Miami’s Museum Park. Grimshaw’s response to the project brief resulted in a complex of four buildings situated in an open-armed stance, inviting visitors to walk amongst them. An open-air atrium threads between the buildings connecting them to one another and creating a dynamic environment.
The shapes of each individual building are dynamic and varied, sculpted to take advantage of filtered light and breezes. The ensemble is united by a soft white color palette expressed through a variety of materials that create unique patterns and shadows across the building facades. The bar-shaped buildings of the North and West Wings are clad in a faceted, pixelated geometrical texture that allows the passage of the sun to animate the buildings across daylight hours.
The aquarium is nestled between the wings, appearing in shape as a water droplet from above. The iconic planetarium, spherical in shape, completes the site, creating an intriguing landmark that contrasts the more rigid building massing of adjacent developments. The aquarium building lies at the heart of the site and is where most guests will begin their exploration. Grimshaw has created a unique, vertically-oriented experience that allows guests to encounter aquatic ecosystems at various depths from an open-air rooftop “surface” level to more intimate, immersive galleries “below the waterline.”
This portion of the museum is dominated by the 500,000-gallon Gulf Stream Aquarium. The aquarium’s unique cone shape spans three floors to provide a cornerless environment for ocean-cruising wildlife. The bottom of the cone resolves in a massive, 31-foot circular viewing window that allows visitors a dramatic view up and into the aquarium from below.