At the Staten Island Children’s Museum (SICM), a series of Environmental Structures challenge the limits of traditional approaches to sustainability, employing renewable energy sources and innovative technologies to engage, educate, and delight museum-goers of all ages. These translucent forms act as icons, identifying SICM within the Snug Harbor campus, while showcasing the integration of environmental systems.
The Meadow Structure is an open structure providing sheltered outdoor program space that supports the Museum’s mission to provide first-hand experiences and opportunities for children’s exploration. Its translucent tensile fabric canopy integrates photovoltaic fabric, which provides power for lighting the structure while creating a variable pattern of shade below the undulating roof. Set against a stand of existing mature trees, the structure engages the museum building across the meadow, acting as an anchor for outdoor play.
Two Wind-device Cupolas replace the two skylights previously in disrepair at SICM’s Main Building. Above the elevator shaft, a vertical axis Wind Turbine transforms the force of the wind into electrical power; above the main stairwell, a Wind Scoop points to fluctuations in wind direction, while passively cooling and ventilating the stairwell. These two wind devices strengthen and interact with each other via an interactive exhibit display, demonstrating environmental principles and positioning the Children’s Museum within the maritime identity of Snug Harbor Campus.