Science Museum of Virginia Speed Exhibit

Richmond, VA

Science Museum of Virginia Speed Exhibit

Scope of Services
Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, and Fire Protection (MEP/FP) Engineering Services

Founded in 1970, the Science Museum of Virginia has become the premier hub for hands-on education in Virginia. This public museum, which is housed in the concourse of a historic train station in the state capital, hosts more than 300,000 visitors each year. It is an important tool in the State’s effort to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education to 8- to 14-year-olds.

In 2013, the Museum launched a campaign to reinvent itself with building updates and more than 50 new exhibits including its ground-breaking “Speed” exhibition, inviting visitors “to the intersection of motion and time across a world of science and technology applications”. Speed features a 170-foot SR-71 Blackbird supersonic jet suspended from the ceiling, which posed a host of challenges for the design and engineering teams.

2RW Project Case Study Main Image

2RW was selected to provide MEP/FP engineering design for this project. The complexities of the exhibit and location of the aircraft required innovative solutions for the placement and installation of MEP/FP systems. Our work included:

  • Adaptation of MEP/FP systems in the Concourse to accommodate the suspended aircraft and its structural support system. HVAC and mechanical systems were housed in the ceiling above the aircraft, requiring careful planning and design for access to systems during construction and for future maintenance.
  • Electrical power and lighting design for the entire exhibit space.
  • Fire suppression system design. This aspect was particularly challenging because of the suspended aircraft: the jet blocked ceiling-mounted sprinkler heads and, being positioned at an angle, it can’t trap hot air during a fire to trigger a fire suppression system. 2rw and its fire suppression subconsultant devised a safe and effective alternative system below the aircraft utilizing a monitor nozzle, an innovative solution that ensures public safety.
  • HVAC, lighting, power, and fire protection for a theater and an enclosed walkway that connect the Concourse to the new Special Events Center.
  • Utility connections for elevator.

2RW considers it a great privilege to help the Science Museum of Virginia accomplish its mission to “inspire Virginians to enrich their lives through science.”

Scope of Services
Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, and Fire Protection (MEP/FP) Engineering Services

OWNER: Science Museum of Virginia

TIMEFRAME: 2012 – 2016

SIZE: 11,000 SF

COST: $2.9 million