California Academy of Sciences
Design David Brenner
Installation Habitat Horticulture
Dimensions 18’ wide x 12’ high
Completion March 2011
Location San Francisco, CA
The California Academy of Sciences is one of the largest natural history museums in the world, housing 26 million specimens. It is a light-filled, dynamic space, designed by architect Renzo Piano, and a San Francisco treasure. Situated in the museum’s main hall, Habitat Horticulture’s living wall plays a vital role in reinforcing what the museum stands for, complementing the space, accentuating the natural elements all around it. It is a centerpiece, forming the backdrop for a stage set just off of the building’s main entrance.
For this wall it was especially important to use a number of California native plant species. The Polypodium californicum, which can be found in any given forest or hill in California, gives bright textural highlights to the wall. The Heuchera maxima adds a softness, while the flowering Rubus parviflorus, creates distinctive lines in the composition. The wall is striking, a burst of various shades of green alongside pinks, violets and whites – calling to mind the wide range of vivid plant life found all around coastal California and setting the right tone for a visit to this museum, so teeming with life at every turn.