HOUSTON — The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History was one of the most outstanding construction projects of 2010, according to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). As a result, the project’s contractor, Linbeck Group, LLC, was one of eight firms to receive the association’s Aon Build America Merit Award.

The $80 million Fort Worth Museum of Science and History opened on schedule — an amazing feat when considering that the fast-track project allowed the construction team less than two years to complete the 166,000-square-foot iconic, signature structure. The new building houses a collection of interactive exhibits and programs that provide informal and formal, discovery-based learning for all ages. The museum showcases more than 175,000 historical objects and scientific specimens and includes a Museum School for children ages 3 to 12.

The project was designed by architects Legorreta + Legorreta of Mexico City in association with Gideon Toal, Inc., of Fort Worth, Texas. The Legorreta + Legorreta architectural style works toward pureness in form with clean lines and simple geometries, including domes, pyramids, and rectangles. The emblematic tower/lantern, signaling the entrance of the museum, reshaped the focus of the cultural district by providing a beacon to draw visitors to the center of the cultural community. The top of the tower consists of a glowing glass box that can be seen for miles.

“The idea of creating an urban lantern came from the notion of orientation within the city,” said Ricardo Legorreta. “In the same way that lighthouses guide ships at sea, we wanted to guide people in the city to the museum.” The tower now serves as a point of orientation to guide more than 1 million annual guests to the museum campus.

One unique aspect of the project was the use of proprietary planning tools developed and enhanced by the Linbeck team. “Our LEAN scheduling tools provided an uncomplicated and common sense approach to planning that our specialty contractors were quick to embrace because of the performance feedback and collaboration the tools provided,” said Becky Burleson, client executive for the Linbeck Group. “We integrated LEAN principles with the 56 diverse contractors onsite. Using LEAN planning, our team was able to absorb a six-month delay in documents with no schedule extension (a 28 percent reduction in duration) and no increase in construction cost.”

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