Feb 26, 2008

The California Academy of Sciences Launches Sustainable, Smart Site

Hot Studio joined forces with the California Academy of Sciences to redesign a new site that showcases Cal Academy as “the best natural life institution in the world,” according to museum Executive Director, Greg Farrington.

A new and highly innovative building for the Academy is currently under construction in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Designed by Renzo Piano, the sustainable building will showcase rotating exhibits, live animals, a rainforest, an aquarium, and a planetarium.

Hot Studio’s challenge was to design a rich brand experience and engage museum-goers through learning and exploration while the building is completed. With that goal in mind, Hot’s team focused on the Cal Academy’s real story: the wonders inside the building and its passionate employees, who have done expeditions all over the planet.

What we did

Hot Studio created the information architecture, brand identity, visual design system, and content strategy for the project. The team created an experience that feels responsive, alive, and full of personality, yet is simple and very easy to use. When a museum-goer walks into the new Academy building, light will shine through from the living roof top and the marine lights of the aquarium, coral reef and rain forest. “Using this light as inspiration, I wanted to express the sense of wandering, unbounded nature, and adventurous discovery through interactivity on the site,” says Hot Studio’s visual designer Jisun Suh.

Users can choose from an orbiting series of offerings and deeply interact with topics through videos, photos and information. Users can also learn about the interconnections between animals, science, and scientists. The Science Hero pages contain background info, interviews, and videos on some of the Academy scientists.

The site showcases all of the web’s vast offerings to a global audience, enabling them to experience the online environment at any time, and is available to viewers of all ages, education levels and languages.

See it in action.

About the California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is one of the world's preeminent natural history museums and is an international leader in scientific research about the natural world. Founded in 1853 as the first scientific institution in the West, the Academy is now home to the Kimball Natural History Museum, Steinhart Aquarium and Morrison Planetarium. The Academy conducts research in 11 fields of study, and houses over 20 million scientific specimens. This major new initiative builds on the Academy's distinguished history and deepens its commitment to advancing scientific literacy, engaging the public, and documenting and conserving Earth's natural resources. The new building will open in the fall of 2008.