The New Museum

Design and Environmental Principles

Planning the new Museum has been guided by adherence to the following principles:

Architectural Design

Stewardship of the Land

The site on which the new Agua Caliente Cultural Museum will be built was entrusted to the Agua Caliente people and is intrinsically linked to their heritage. The development of this site offers ecological and historic conservation opportunities to ensure that this small but significant habitat and cultural are preserved for generations to come.

Stewardship of Energy

The commitment of the Board of Directors and of the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum to have a "green" building is for two very inter-related reasons. Native Americans are the traditional keepers of the natural resources of their lands. A green building will have the least impact on the natural resources. The second reason is one of economics. Savings in energy costs maximizes Museum operating funds available for exhibitions, education programs, and cultural festivals.  

The architects are creating thermal pockets within the walls of the Museum so that the interior temperature will remain relatively stable. There will be double doors at public entrances to alleviate the mixing of outdoor and indoor temperatures in order to maintain optimum temperatures. Windows will be minimal, and the Museum has been oriented so there is a low incidence of direct sunlight. Angles of sunlight on the solstice have been calculated in consideration of specific overhangs so that there is never direct sunlight coming into the Museum. There are, however, sufficient opportunities for indirect sunlight which will lower the need for artificial lighting.

An engineering firm has run simulations of HVAC systems to ensure use of  the most efficient and cost-effective equipment. An agreement has been reached with Southern California Edison (SCE) regarding the energy efficiency of the building. SCE has estimated what the load should be, and have offered the architects and the Museum bonuses if levels go below that load. Architects and exhibition designers are striving to achieve those levels of efficiency. Architects Jones & Jones are noted for green buildings and have won numerous awards for the efficiency of design. Restroom facilities in the building will have water-saving toilets and hand-activated basins. Landscaping will feature native plants with a drip irrigation system to establish the plants. Once established, however, plants will survive in the natural desert conditions on their own and conserve water.

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