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Publicly Accessible Interiors

Playful museum with sculptural exhibit designs

“Fun, engaging and inviting for both children and adults. The design is playful but clearly structured,” Emma Holt, Judge.

Project: Bay Area Discovery Museum

Award: Cultural Venues, Bronze, 2022

Location: Sausalito, California, USA

Design practice: Olson Kundig

Client: Bay Area Discovery Museum

Set at Fort Baker, a former WW1 military base in the Golden Gate National Recreation area, the Bay Area Discovery Museum close to San Francisco applies the latest research to develop STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) learning experiences for children. Five new permanent exhibits blend this research with architecture and exhibit design. A new climbing activity, Gumnut Grove, allows children to refine their gross motor skills and develop confidence. The sculptural design is inspired by seedpods of eucalyptus trees.


Design highlights

Tot Spot introduces infants and toddlers to STEM concepts during a crucial time in their brain development. Tactile experiences across two rooms invite touch and engagement, including a waterbed and gently rolling landmasses. A unifying black and white mural features local animals and plants.
How Things Work displays familiar items in cross section, revealing their inner workings, empowering children to ask questions and challenge their understanding of familiar objects. The Try It Studio features adaptable machines that encourage experimentation. Children can change the speed and rotation of a kinetic drawing arm to impact the shapes it creates, demonstrating cause and effect. An interactive music box encourages children to plan ahead to change notes and alter the tune, developing sequencing skills.

  • Bay Area Discovery Museum
  •  Bay Area Discovery Museum
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum

Photo credit: Matthew Millman

  • LEAD DESIGNER: Alan Maskin
    PROJECT MANAGER: Marlene Chen
    PROJECT ARCHITECT: Megan Zimmerman

  • ARCHITECTURAL STAFF: Crystal Coleman, Jerome Tryon
    EXHIBIT DESIGNERS: Ryan Botts, Tessa Crespo and Jared Luther
    INTERIOR DESIGN: Sarah Muchow


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