Even in these stages of the Museum that are all about the foundation, or “all about concrete,” as our building project managers might say, you can still see the beginning stages of some parts of the Museum that will be visible when the building is finished. In the “mock-up area” for example, you can see tiles of different colors and finishes. These are there so that architects and Museum staff can choose the one that will create the desired look and feel of the finished building. And, you can’t construct a building without thinking through every detail in advance. For example, which structural columns in the parking garage will have fire alarms? Where do you need electricity? We can’t put the cart before the horse, but there are many, many horses to line up before the cart!
In the mock-up area, different colors and finishes of concrete components are tested and compared, and accepted or rejected. These concrete tiles represent color options for the cast concrete that will be the basis of the planetarium sphere. Half of the lower left tile in the grouping of the darkest shade of tile was sandblasted to test the finish. Slag (a byproduct of reducing metal from ore) was used to darken the color of the tile and make it more dense and resistant to chipping.
Here is the beginning of the parking garage. It will have 400+ spots, and be shared by the science and art museums. It will be located under the plaza/park level, so you will be walking where the workers are standing here, with parking underneath you. There will be a 6-8inch slab still added to the floor of the parking level, but your SUVs will still fit!
Each concrete structural column is molded using a wooden form, and the form is removed after 24 hours. Coordination had to happen in advance, and conduits had to be run through the column to plan ahead for other needs, like electricity and fire alarms. Vibrating devices are placed in the concrete forms to help settle and set the concrete with minimal air pockets. The blotchy color is due to the concrete still being wet, but in a few days it will be smooth and white.
These 4 foot square tiles are pieces of the larger concrete panels that will be the walls for the two bar-shaped buildings of the new Museum. As seen in the photo, some are convex, some concave, and some flat, and a few have a hole build out for a window or other structural piece. They will be put together in larger panels (roughly 8×20 feet) in random patterns to create the look of the new Museum.
The angled wall seen here is the base of the “Living Core” part of the Museum. This part of the new Museum is shaped like a heel or bow of a ship, so you can use your imagination to begin to see the building take shape!