The Kidspace Children’s Museum, a 45,000 sf project in Pasadena, California, offers opportunities for children to develop a new understanding of the museum and the world around them.  The site, adjacent to the Rose Bowl in the Arroyo Seco, includes three historic buildings of the Fannie Morrison Horticultural Center which have been renovated and reconfigured as exhibition galleries for the museum.  The project further redefines the existing courtyard with a new building as well as the transformation of 115,000 sf of surrounding landscape into additional areas for exploration and play.


Visitors to the Museum begin at the Center’s historic entry, but once they have entered the Museum’s reconfigured courtyard, the closed exterior of the building is radically transformed.  Visitors can access each of the museum’s multiple galleries and programs, an openness which has its corollary in a series of cross-program links which allow parents and children to undertake separate circuits of the museum’s galleries while maintaining a visual relationship to one another.


The museum is organized as a series of layers, or slots, creating deep views which create the possibility for spontaneous programmatic overlap.  This strategy of blurring extends to the building’s section, where children can occupy vantage points not otherwise provided for them, including two towers.  Children are encouraged to engage the building as a topography, much as they can explore the surrounding Arroyo.  These opportunities for exploration serve as a physical extension of the Museum’s pedagogical goals; the Museum is transformed from a scripted set of episodes into an open configuration which allows multiple foci and encourages novel, diverse types of learning.

LOCATION / Pasadena, California
TYPE / Children’s Museum with Theater & Outdoor Exhibits
SIZE / 15,000sf renovation; 30,000sf new construction; 150,000sf site work
STATUS / Phase I Completed 2005
ROLE / Design Architect & Architect of Record
COST / $15 million

AWARDS / Architect Magazine P/A Award, 2003
AIA Los Angeles NEXT LA Merit Award, 2002