The New California Academy of Sciences (CAS) in San Francisco will open September 27th with a long awaited, Renzo Piano designed, 2.5 acre living roof undulating across Golden Gate Park. While the roof has great scientific, educational, and ecological benefits, it will also have a financial benefit by helping to conserve energy use. The roof will keep the building an average 10 degrees cooler than a standard roof.
But the more interesting, and fun, business oriented aspect to this story is the marketing roll out this week in advance of the opening. The Academy, in partnership with the city, Clear Channel Outdoor, and the advertising company Heat, has installed living roofs, each with a different ecological focus, on a series of bus shelters around town. These shelters are just as effective at multi-tasking as the big daddy on the Academy to which they refer.
- They promote the grand opening of the Academy in an original way.
- They remind people that there are public transportation options for getting around town – ideally this leads to people actually being inclined to ride the bus to the academy
- And of course they also have an educational scientific bent by bringing coral reefs, deep space, and the rainforest right on to San Francisco’s street corners.
Although, as with so many cool, sustainable new ideas of late, the Europeans seem to have gotten there before us – the British in 2005 to be exact – but they were more pragmatic and didn’t create the same marketing tie-in as the Academy did, so San Francisco can still lay claim to its own particular whimsy.