Sustainable Shanghai Natural History Museum, China. © 2015 James and Connor Steinkamp Photography; All Rights Reserved

One of China's largest museums has opened in Shanghai. The 44,517 square meter Shanghai Natural History Museum offers visitors the opportunity to explore the world of ancient animals, human history and the evolution of animals and plants. Its design must meet very stringent sustainability requirements. The museum's management has asked Royal HaskoningDHV to form an international, multi-disciplinary Sustainability Team to oversee all aspects of the design and structural engineering processes. In order to obtain the high sustainable ambitions and to achieve LEED Gold certification.

Multiple energy saving techniques

Royal HaskoningDHV applied the most advanced building energy simulation technology to comprehensively study the original design of the Shanghai Natural Museum. By using multiple energy saving techniques, including tunnel air supply, automatic electrical controlled shading system, natural ventilation and the combination of geothermal heat pump, the energy consumption of the museum was significantly reduced. Royal HaskoningDHV worked closely alongside the architects, Perkins & Will, and the Tongji Urban Planning and Design Institute.

The building includes exhibit spaces, a 4D theater, an outdoor exhibit garden, and a 30-meter tall atrium that welcomes visitors with an abundance of natural light filtered through a striking glass wall inspired by the cellular structure of plants and animals. The building replaces the original Natural History Museum and improves the museum's ability to exhibit its collection with 20 times more exhibition space.