Mobius Science Center

Merit Award

The Mobius Science Center is a new, 26,000-square-foot museum featuring 65 self-guided, interactive science exhibits. Its mission is to cultivate a love for science and technology among 8- to 12-year-olds by making science fun.

Renate led the board, staff, and community through planning, design and production of 12,000 sq. ft. of innovative hands-on exhibits and experiences for the new museum. The open-floor facility encourages unscripted, experiential learning through self-discovery. Clean lines, sleek surfaces, and an industrial atmosphere evoke a high-tech feel.

Graphic elements include floor projections that facilitate wayfinding and exhibit identification. Exhibits engage visitors through a combination of physical and technological interaction. An air cannon shoots blasts of air to move distant hanging targets. Visitors explore the mathematical nature of music by manipulating circular patterns on a touch table, including the ability to “steal” music from those next to you. A touchscreen digital imagery table allows visitors to conduct a virtual autopsy, “peeling off” layers of skin to learn about human anatomy. In another area, a high-speed digital camera captures visitors mid-jump, then allows a slow-motion replay. Participants can email themselves a video flipbook of their jump as a takeaway. Visitors also learn the story behind Velcro with a free-play exhibit that demonstrates its effectiveness.

Jury Comments: 

“Inviting and stimulating without the gratuitous use of color and fanciful fuss typically associated with childrens’ museums.”

“Striking in design, the MSC breaks away from the ubiquitous, often brightly colored, visually noisy science center environment with a clean, open plan that offers free-form experimentation and interactive hands-on learning.”

“This open, unscripted environment provides an engaging and active space for learning. The minimal and stripped-down laboratory aesthetic provides the “serious” science environment for children's discovery. The limited material and graphic palette within this robust setting is visually engaging, and encourages an open interaction with the space in an entirely fluid manner. This bold and confident children's learning space is a welcome departure from the often bold use of color, providing a more sophisticated and intelligent approach to making science engaging for youth.”

Design Firm: 



Mobius Science Center

Location City: 

Spokane, WA

Project Area: 

12,000 sq ft

Open Date: 

September 2012

Project Budget: 

$3,000,000 (fabrication and installation)

Photo Credits: 

Patrick Bernard

Design Team: 

Anne Bernard (principal, creative director), Caroline Brownell Gut (art director, graphic designer), Melissa Paugh (project manager), Nathan Fasser (3d designer)


Cassie Caldwell (graphic production), Jessica Wilcox (3D design), Available Light/Ted Mather (lighting consultant), Nikki Amdur (editor)


Maltbie (primary fabricator), Arxi Creative/Christian Bannister (media production), Tenji, Inc./Mark Faulkner (tanks and habitats), Graphic Zone (die cut vinyl graphics and silkscreening), Photo Lab Inc. (lambda clear base transparencies, direct substrate printing, inkjets)

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