Rose Center for Earth and Space


Ralph Appelbaum Associates

Practice Area


American Museum of Natural History

Project Vision

Linking the planetarium and the museum intellectually and architecturally while creating a seamless integration of the subject with its architecture was the design intent at the Rose Center for Earth and Space. The exhibit takes visitors on journeys through time, size, formation, and evolution, inspiring awe and the desire to learn more about the cosmos. The collaborative design process engaged architects, scientists, and educators with the design team to enrich the experience and generate special insights that are reflected the interpretive program. Fundamentals of science are imbedded in the architecture: kinetic models and interactive media give the halls a life and motion of their own; handcrafted glass mosaics laid into the terrazzo floor delineate the major systems in the sky; scaling models are one with the architecture. It is a futuristic yet real space in which the visitor travels.

Project Details
The meshing of architecture and exhibit as one. Glass and stainless steel complement the power of the dome. An amazing use of scalar comparisons of the theater as a reference to the size of the planets allows visitors to begin to comprehend the size of our solar system. The journey around the globe to the exhibition level continues the story powerfully. The addition of mosaic tiles at the base of the exhibits is a textural addition to the crisp vernacular.
Juror 1
Design Team

Ralph Appelbaum (Principal in Charge), Melanie Y. Ide, Marianne E. Schuit, Mary Beth Byrne, Shari Berman, Nathalie Rozot, Dominique Ng, Merton Wu, Jon Zast, David Wolf, Paul deKoninck, Lisa David, Robert Homack, Ellen Weiner, Allegra Burnette, Mia Hatgis, Hanna Varady, Sylvia Juran

Design Firm

Ralph Appelbaum Associates


Weidlinger Associates, Inc. (structural engineer), Altieri Sebor Weiber (mechanical/electrical engineer), Fisher Marantz Renfro Stone (lighting), Electrosonic Systems, Inc. (audiovisual), Perkins Eastman Architects (architect of record), Sako and Associates, Inc. (security), Berlin Acoustics, Shen Milsom & Wilke, Inc. (acoustic), R.A. Heintges (glass), Robert Schwartz and Associates (specifications), Magian Design Studio (sound)


Exhibit Group Giltspur, Ned Kahn Studios (models), Polich Art Works, Research Casting International, Showman Fabricators, Inc., Hoberman Associates, Inc., Ecosphere Associates, Audio Visual Imagineering, My Design, Esperanto, Inc., Floating Images, Inc., Funny Garbage, Cuscuna Multimedia Inc., Ballentyne Brumble Communications, American Museum of Natural History, Ralph Appelbaum Associates Inc., Bisazza