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[thematic report] The Green Architecture of the California Academy of Sciences

by Katie Lau | 25-04-2021 05:23 recommendations 1

As a younger kid, I used to visit the California Academy of Sciences with my aunt and brother quite often, whenever we visited San Francisco. The building was always filled with many things to explore: a butterfly dome, space planetarium, aquarium, and natural history museum. But now, as I look into an example of  green architecture in the United States, I realize that I’ve got one right close to home.

The California Academy of Sciences is the prime example of mastered green architecture - a living roof filled with grasses and flowers, six inches of soil for naturally heating & cooling the building, and 60,000 voltaic cells to convert sunlight to energy. The Academy has been awarded the Platinum LEED rating - a high certification in green building. It is the world’s first double platinum museum, and the largest double platinum building in the world!

The Academy of Sciences fits seamlessly into its surroundings of the Golden Gate Park, the living roof designed to imitate the surrounding rolling green hills. The architect, Renzo Piano, envisioned “lift[ing] up a piece of the park and put a building underneath.”  The building certainly fits that vision, as it provides an environment for 1.7 million plants, and many bird and insect species as well: bees, hummingbirds, butterflies. The plant species are able to capture 100% of excess storm water, protecting pollutants from being carried into the ecosystem, along with being agents to convert the atmospheric carbon dioxide to oxygen.

The Academy is committed to continuing and expanding upon these sustainable practices: with self-charging faucet sensors, floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize natural light use, and automated ventilation system (using the circular skylights on the roof). It’s built on a foundation of sustainability: from recycled materials from demolished buildings, and even recycled insulation from blue jeans.

If you’re ever visiting the San Francisco area in the United States, be sure to check out the California Academy of Sciences’ living roof! I’ll certainly be checking it out soon myself too, now knowing how incredible it has been planned and constructed.

Thanks for reading, hope everyone had a happy Earth Day!

References used:




more info: https://www.greenroofs.com/projects/california-academy-of-sciences-cas-living-roof/
CA Academy of Sciences Living Roof: from greenroofs.com


  • United States Of America E-gen Ambassador Katie Lau


Debbie Mentor

  • Debbie Mentor says :
    Hi Katie,

    This is your mentor Debbie. :)

    I??ve visited San Francisco before but I don??t remember visiting California Academy of Sciences .. I should??ve done that.. haha It??s for sure on my checklist for next time!

    Anyways, it??s fascinating how a Science building utilized the ‘sciences?? into environment, being able to embrace so many plants and birds as well as other parts of the ecosystem. The picture seems to reflect how grand it looks!

    Thanks for writing an informative piece of article.

    Green Cheers
    Posted 01-05-2021 10:04

Yuseon Mentor

  • Yuseon Mentor says :
    Hi Katie,

    This is your mentor Yuseon:D

    It is wonderful that you found the best example just near you, a place you have visited numerous times when you were young. A living roof with greenery that could absorb carbon and also able to generate solar energy? This is actually the perfect example. No wonder it has been awarded the Platinum LEED rating!

    I actually visited Sanfransico, but never got the opportunity to visit California Academy of Sciences. Reading your report, I wish to visit there someday to check out the cool roof myself:)

    Keep up the good work,
    Posted 30-04-2021 12:44

Shobha Pokhrel

  • Shobha Pokhrel says :
    Wow , great . Keep sharing
    Posted 26-04-2021 00:31

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