Children's Discovery Museum
How do you redefine a community? As the first major project under the new 'Uptown Circle' initiative in 2004, the new home for the Children's Discovery Museum became a catalyst and helped set the design standard for the next 20 years of Uptown development. Though it is one structure, from the street it looks like three different facades. This intentional architectural design decision helps the larger building blend in with the smaller shops and businesses that share Beaufort Street. Inside you'll find the only ceiling-suspended 2-story climbing gym in the US, "The Luckey Climber" recently redesigned in the fall of 2023, plus three floors of different adventures for the community's littlest explorers. Color is most vibrant at 5ft and under with special attention to changes in floor space, because that's what is closest to a kid's line of sight.
The children won't notice the gray cage above that green wall, but you might. On the south wall, flanking the door to the outdoor play area there are two systems whose gray color fades into the same gray ceiling design to disappear into the background. It serves a vital purpose in case of a fire emergency, being able to open and remove smoke from the air.
As a museum, its exhibits will change over time which required a ceiling design that allows for lighting, signage, and dividers to be changed when needed. The grid system attached to the ceiling and all mechanical elements are painted the same shade of gray to disappear and not be noticed by their littlest visitors.
Every corner of the museum has an intentional pop of color and whimsy. Stairwells are bright and inviting, not boring or scary. Little visitors are closer to the floor than any other element, so details like the elevator can be a source of joy and fun.
Scharnett Architects & Associates is a professional, community-minded firm. We have enjoyed working with this team on successful projects, plus our nonprofit foundation must feel confident in vendors anytime it spends dollars from fundraising efforts. That is the case here!