The Museum of Discovery and Science is the perfect blend of learning and entertainment in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Opened in 1992, it has become the busiest museum in the state.
As part of a $35 million expansion, the museum introduced an outdoor, interactive Science Park. The 27,000 sq.ft. space offers dozens of learning experiences in physical sciences for the 90,000 school students that attend annually.
The creative team at Hands On! Studio took the lead in developing the apparatus with which the children interact, working closely with the Stiles Architectural Group. For the final landscaping, including lighting, Stiles chose to work with Architectural Alliance Landscape. Brian Euell, landscape architect for Architectural Alliance Landscape, explains that one of the key objectives was to “keep it fun, with lots of color for the finishes and materials”. And, of course everything had to be kid-proof. They understood that the kids would be climbing on – and getting into – everything.
While the museum closes at 5:00 p.m. daily, the facilities are available for private event rentals, and the museum’s own programming includes several overnight “camp-ins” throughout the year. Guests and campers have access to the Science Park during these evening activities, facilitating the need for appropriate lighting of the space and the specific exhibits. The lighting also serves to highlight the park to passersby, as the venue is located in a high-traffic downtown area.
Outdoor lighting around exhibits and along pathways was accomplished with a combination of bollards and post-top luminaires manufactured by Luminis. Euell notes “we liked the aesthetics of the Luminis fixtures, and we already knew the quality. As an approved vendor for the City of Fort Lauderdale, Luminis had already built up a proven track record in the city.”
For the children’s play stations, Euell says the landscape team wanted to experiment with bollards offered in various distribution patterns to highlight the specific elements and the short pathways between them. The team selected Luminis’ Maya MA30 because it was available in both Type IV and Type V distributions types. This gave the team the flexibility to direct the light where they wanted it to go; the Type IV bollards highlight the specific interactive play elements and the Type V provide general illumination around and between the stations.
The luminaires’ sleek lines and finish complement the design aesthetics of the park’s unique play pieces, so the fixtures look as good in the daytime as they do after dark. At 3000K color temperature, the Maya MA30 provides a comfortable, warm light to highlight the play features in the evening and ensure a safe environment for the children. And the luminaires also feature advanced moulded silicone optics, allowing for superior performance.
Lighting along the walkways is provided by stylish Argon AR35P luminaires mounted on Luminis 5” diameter straight round aluminum poles. The 3000K luminaires ensure the Science Park’s pathways are well-lit, offering a safe, secure space for evening guests of all ages.
Both Luminis fixtures were chosen for their superior performance, something that was key for this outdoor Florida location where extreme weather conditions prevail. They are made of corrosion resistant aluminum alloy, offering durability in extreme heat and sunshine as well as tropical storms. The exceptional thermal design ensures significant advantages in energy saving and lighting efficiency, something the museum will appreciate as it manages the Science Park’s operating expenses in the coming years.
With stylish, sleek designs and no sharp edges, all fixtures meet the “kid-proof” requirement. They are safe for the park’s young, curious guests, and durable enough to withstand the museum’s busy flow of children, teachers, parents and strollers.
Euell says the client is very pleased with the final outcome of the Science Park. The combination of one-of-a-kind interactive play features, creative landscaping and contemporary lighting have come together to create a fun, whimsical atmosphere in the park, both day and night. And Euell says he is personally very satisfied. “It looks great. I’ve taken my kids there and they love it!”
Project Name: Science Park, Museum of Discovery and Science
Specifier/Landscape Architect: Architectural Alliance Landscape
Luminis Agent: Sesco Fort Lauderdale
Photography: Chad Baumer