Back in September, a video and architectural renderings of the new Perot Museum of Nature & Science were released. Groundbreaking on the $185 million building happens later this year with construction scheduled to be completed in 2013.
But a recent visit to the website of the design firm Morphosis — prompted by lead architect Thom Mayne being named to President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities — uncovered new, even more detailed images. The Morphopedia models give a much more vivid sense of a chief characteristic of many of Mayne’s daring designs: They often look almost ramshackle or left unfinished.
In fact, somewhat like the Wyly Theatre, the Perot Museum on two sides will look as though it’s suspended above the ground, as if it might fall, held up only by angled columns that seem insufficient for the task. Unlike the Wyly, the effect doesn’t make the building seem to rise (the Wyly’s tubes draw the eyes upward) but more as though the museum is crumbling or sliding downhill. This effect is amplified by the external escalator that looks as though it’s slipping down the southeast side of the bulding, while the walls around it gape open.
If some North Texans are not exactly warming to the hard-edged, industrial qualities of the Wyly — which, just to be perverse, I’ve started to like — the even more-radical Perot may well give them conniptions.