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Nicholas & Athena Karabots Pavilion
The Franklin Institute

To develop the 21st century public face of The Franklin Institute, we collaborated with a multifaceted team of architects, engineers, exhibition designers, and artists. The multistory Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion permanently houses the groundbreaking exhibit, Your Brain, and contributes 53,000 square feet of exhibition, education, and conference space. The steel frame pavilion developed by the creative team respects the fabric of the original structure, a renowned icon of classical architectural design by John Windrim built in 1931. It simultaneously expresses the dynamism and fluidity of scientific exploration with state of the art facilities and sustainable design.

The challenge of integrating these two very different structures was resolved through careful selection of palettes and materials, blending the multiple tones of the original marble structure with contemporary interpretations in terrazzo, metal and glass. The interiors gracefully connect to the outdoors through a new garden which expresses scientific principles. Furnishings and lighting were chosen to resonate with the garden aesthetic, such that natural materials echo natural elements. The stainless steel kinetic sculpture by Ned Kahn entitled Shimmer Wall serves as a further extension of natural materials expressing a phenomenon of nature, here the intriguing patterns created by wind moving across a faceted surface.

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