Charlotte City Council have approved $700,000 to develop a master plan for Discovery Place Science in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Jenkins Peer Architects have been awarded the main contract to create the plan.  They will study how to modernize and expand the 36-year-old museum on North Tryon Street, Charlotte.

The company will not only evaluate the existing facility at Discovery Place Science; they will look at science museum trends around the country. The study is expected to take about a year.  It will be paid with revenue from tourism tax, reports WFAE.

This initial stage is also likely to include conceptual designs for a makeover of both the building’s facade and its interior.  Recommendations will also be given for improving the museum’s business model.

Jenkins Peer’s portfolio majors in projects for educational establishments, in particular those involved in science and technology. They have completed projects for Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, worked on projects at University of South Carolina, NC State University and Central Piedmont Community College.  They also designed the football stadium at UNC Charlotte.

Discovery Place Science have also announced they are hiring a second architect – New York-based Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DSR).  DSR will lead the design aspect of the plan. The company have previously been involved in turning a 1.5 mile abandoned rail track in New York City into a public park, the High Line.  They have also designed renovations at the Lincoln Center in New York and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

The architects are expected to hold community workshops.

The North Tryon Vision Plan is the city’s broader effect to transform the area. Catherine Horne, CEO of Discovery Place says the two architectural firms will play a key role in this, with their work affecting not only Discovery Place but the wider North Tryon Street area.

“We believe they bring a global perspective that will help define the North Tryon district as Charlotte’s centre where curiosity begins, knowledge is advanced and innovation live,” says Horne.

The City Council approved $950,000 for the planning, including the contract just announced.

The master plan has been called “the first step” in a seven to ten year process.  No exact time frame for the renovation has been given.

Discovery Place last underwent major renovation in 2010.  Following that, a new education studio was built in 2014.

About 828,000 people visit the museum annually, making it the fourth largest cultural attraction in North Carolina.

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