Carnegie Science Center – PPG Science Pavilion

Pittsburgh, PA

An Experiment in Expansion

The most popular museum in greater Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Science Center serves as a place for people of all ages to conduct hands-on exploration of science and how it connects with everyday life. Opened in 1991, the center was the recipient of the National Award for Museum Service in 2003

The museum’s popularity drove the need for an expansion to accommodate STEM education programs for area children along with traveling exhibits that draw regional crowds. In addition, museum directors sought to create more event space

The result was the PPG Science Pavilion, a $33-million, four-floor expansion to the museum on the city’s North Shore

The key challenge for designers: How do you replicate the look of a building that opened three decades ago and apply it to an addition while also adhering to modern design standards and much stricter building codes?


Smart and Seamless

When architects began the design process, they had to take into account the notion that the original museum was clad in custom-designed metal panels that had been manufactured more than 25 years ago

 “We really needed a product that would align itself well with the spacing, the sizing and the aesthetic appearance of the existing panels while bringing in the modernity of a functional system,” said Ryan Indovina, principal at Indovina Associates Architects. “We were really focused on trying to achieve the aesthetic appearance but also the performance standard that the science center was looking for.”

Indovina and team were also charged with sourcing materials from a local provider.


The Perfect Fit

CENTRIA’s Formawall Dimension Series presented itself as the optimal solution. In this case, the Formawall Dimension Series 3”-T panel was able to be sized and shaped to meet the needs of the project and covered 11,500 square feet of the building. The panel is engineered to provide outstanding aesthetics and value along with maximum thermal performance and moisture control in a single componen.

Part of the addition needed to be a “black box” without external windows since it would house the traveling exhibits. To ensure the building remained visually interesting on the exterior, Indovina and team integrated the CENTRIA metal panels with an outer scrim board for a double-layered facade. The perforated boards created depth while the Formawall boards served as the moisture and insulation barrier

“The CENTRIA panel offered the opportunity to have a consistent manufactured panel that provides that weather barrier whether it’s behind that scrim or fully visible,” Indovina said, adding that the new panels also coordinated well with old sections of the building when the two were finally connected.

“The aesthetic of the building ended up being almost exactly in line with what we intended in the initial design phases,” Indovina remarked.

The PPG Science Pavilion opened in the spring of 2018.




  • Market Segment

    Museums & Libraries

  • Architect Name

    Indovina Associates Architects

  • Dealer

    A. C. Dellovade, Inc.

  • Contractor

    Turner Construction Company

  • LEED Certification

    Certified Gold