Jean and Ric Edelman Fossil Park and Museum of Rowan University

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Jean and Ric Edelman Fossil Park and Museum of Rowan University

Inspired by the core themes of preservation, exploration, and education, the Jean and Ric Edelman Fossil Park and Museum of Rowan University is a one-of-a-kind active fossil dig site that offers visitors the unique opportunity to explore the remarkable site of scientific wonder.

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Just as the site itself offers a window into the earth’s deep past and the devastation of mass extinction, the highly sustainable, net-zero energy building looks to the earth’s future and the critical importance of planetary stewardship in the Anthropocene.”

Thomas J. Wong, AIA, Design Partner

The museum building draws from the incredible site by giving visitors a unique exhibit and hands-on experience centered around the story of the cretaceous seas, the cretaceous coast and the transition on that fateful day from the age of dinosaurs to that of mammals. The architecture originates out of the special importance of the site, conceived as a set of small-scale pavilions integrated with the natural environment and the surrounding context.

Research at the site, led by Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, executive director of the Edelman Fossil Park, is shedding light on ancient events that led to the world’s 5th mass extinction, during which the dinosaurs and 75% of species went extinct—a pivotal, calamitous moment that paved the way for the modern world as we know it.

The design concept for this remarkable site was envisioned as a set of metaphorical camera obscuras. The site itself, the experience, and the architecture, are all a series of lenses. The deep time perspective that the fossil record offers inspired an architecture that nestles within the natural landscape as a series of small-scale pavilions which frame the evidence of past worlds, while encouraging engagement with the present moment.

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At 44,000 square feet, the museum acts as a learning and research center as well as an exhibit experience, with laboratory space and programs geared to both paleontologists and citizen scientists who have embarked on their own act of discovery in the adjacent quarry. The museum will feature immersive exhibits galleries, full-scale reconstructions of extinct creatures, hands-on learning experiences, live animal attractions, virtual reality, connections to the natural world, and gathering spaces to build community around the themes of exploration, discovery, and responsible stewardship of our planet.

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2021 10 07 Explosion Updated UPDATE labeled

The building itself is a demonstration of high-performance sustainability, the Museum will be New Jersey’s largest public net zero facility. Incorporating features such as geothermal, water-source heat pump heating and cooling systems and a photo voltaic solar field, 100% of the energy used by the museum will come from a combination of green energy available in New Jersey’s power grid and renewable energy produced on-site. No fossil fuels will be combusted for museum operations and no greenhouse gasses will be released into the atmosphere. In addition, the surrounding grounds will restore plant and animal habitat and other key landscape features. The building utilizes concrete and heavy timber structure as well as wood cladding to maximize the use of renewable materials.

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Glassboro, NJ
44,000 GSF
Lobby, Auditorium, Exhibit, Admin Offices, Quarry, Food Service, Outdoor Trails


Ennead 团队
Thomas Wong, Don Weinreich, Marissa Sweig, Julia Chapman, Ursula Trost, Kailey Baker, Luccas Dias, Darla Elsbernd, Bettine Gachstetter, Masha Konopleva, Eliza Montgomery, Stine Pedersen
KSS Architects
Experience Design
Gallagher & Associates
SEED Design/Yaki Miodovnik
Engineer & Sustainability
BuroHappold Engineering