BCV’s design of the three retail gift stores in Renzo Piano’s California Academy of Sciences building are envisioned as integral to the experience of the Academy, allowing visitors to “take a piece of the Academy home.” Each store seeks to extend the themes raised in the design of the larger building, including its role within the ecosystem of Golden Gate Park.
The retail spaces include The Academy Store (2,173 SF) at the main entrance, The Lab Junior (1,330 SF) adjacent to the Planetarium and children’s education area, and The Swamp Store (337 SF) on the mezzanine level of the Steinhart Aquarium. Each of the Academy stores has been designed to be both unique and to support a common aesthetic, and are designed to celebrate the future while acknowledging the importance of the past.
The casework for all three stores is a system of boxes of varying widths and depths, creating a dynamic composition. The boxes are made of 17 species of tree that grow in Golden Gate Park, and are from locally salvaged wood. It is our hope that the visitor will connect the beautiful wood casework with the great urban forest of the surrounding park. Throughout the stores, historic elements from the Academy are incorporated into the design, and celebrate the research that is the core of the Academy. These items include an original library table, salvaged Steinhart Aquarium tiles and Academy scientific instruments.