Natural History Museum: Darwin Centre





Key Partners

At Large, Ned Phillips, Cultural Innovations, Clay Interactive, On 101

Photos © Natural History Museum

Calling on Sysco’s reputation to deliver high-quality sound in challenging environments, this extraordinary new gallery within the Natural History Museum’s new wing required careful management of sound travelling along the curved continuous walls and open spaces of the structure.

Interact with the science of nature like never before in the state-of-the-art cocoon building. Take a self-guided tour and witness real specimens, incredible displays and animated interactive activities. Get up close to scientists at work.


The 65 metre long, 8 storey cocoon structure was designed by renowned Danish architects C F Møller and took around 280 people 25 months to build. It is the largest sprayed concrete, curved structure in Europe and houses 20 million plant and insect specimen collections. The innovative organic structure with its multiple open areas and transparent transitions between research and exhibition spaces looks beautiful but created huge technical challenges.

Visitors take a lift to the 7th floor to begin their tour, and follow the internal ramp of the viewing gallery as it winds its way to the bottom. The curved exhibition spaces and continuous sloped viewing gallery meant that sound installation - particularly the need to prevent sound interference between exhibits - was exceptionally complex.

Construction delays impacted installation time, so systems were assembled and tested off-site to ensure a fast and efficient final installation process. The multiple software suppliers also took careful coordination to ensure that sufficient resources with the right skills were available at key moments.

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