New York’s Green Museum Roster Includes Rochester Butterfly Garden

With the $37 million Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden in Rochester, New York State has added another green museum to its ranks.

The April 2008 issue of eco-structure profiles the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden at Rochester, New York’s Strong National Museum of Play, a hands-on interactive learning institution geared towards both children and adults. Dancing Wings was part of Strong’s recent $37 million expansion effort and includes a number of sustainable design features, including a 4000-square-foot, 50-foot diameter tensile-fabric membrane roof designed and installed by Amherst, New York-based specialty contractor Birdair, Inc.

The PTFE-coated roof allows up to 40 percent of natural light to penetrate into the habitat below, where over 800 butterflies are free to roam. It also assists the museum in achieving cost savings from decreased interior lighting requirements, minimizes the museum’s heat island effect, and contributed minimally to the project’s overall construction waste. Birdair has installed similar tensile-fabric roofs on a number of high-profile projects, including University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona (site of Super Bowl XLII) and Denver International Airport.

The project itself was designed by Rochester-based architects Macon Chaintreul Jenson & Stark and was completed back in 2006. Though it registered for LEED certification, it’s unclear whether the museum has proceeded through to a formal rating from USGBC. Other green features include efficient water and irrigation technology and high-performance mechanical and electrical systems. Dancing Wings isn’t the only green museum here in New York State; the Wild Center/Natural History Museum in Adirondack Park is the Empire State’s first LEED-certified museum, while Rafael Vinoly’s brilliant yellow design for the renovation of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is also pursuing a LEED rating.

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