RFQ: California Science Center Foundation, Executive Architect – Phase III Building

Last Updated: September 8, 2011

The California Science Center Foundation ("Foundation") seeks to hire an Executive Architectural firm for Architect Services (full architectural, engineering, and specialty consulting services) for the proposed California Science Center Foundation - Phase III Building.

The California Science Center Foundation has retained ZGF Architects LLP ("ZGF") as Design Architect for the development of Phase III of the Science Center. The Foundation is seeking an architecture firm to work collaboratively with ZGF and to provide Executive Architectural services for the project. Services include participating in conceptual design, supporting ZGF throughout programming and design, and leading construction documentation, construction contract administration, and post-construction support. However, the initial contract will be for the programming and concept development phase only. The selected firm, along with ZGF, will work closely with the exhibit designers selected independently by the Foundation.

Interested firms are requested to submit written statements of qualifications as directed in this RFQ.


Project Overview and Description

The Foundation is initiating an Executive Architect selection process for the proposed expansion to the California Science Center. The proposed expansion constitutes Phase III of the Science Center's 25-year Master Plan. The Foundation is a non-profit organization affiliated with the California Science Center. The Science Center is a department of the State of California. Located 3 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, the Science Center is one of the largest science centers in the country and the most popular museum venue in Southern California. The Science Center welcomes an average of 1.4 million guests annually, including over 360,000 school students. Its mission is to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone.

Formerly known as the California Museum of Science and Industry, the facility was re-envisioned in a Master Plan adopted in 1993. Phase I of the re-branded California Science Center opened in 1998. This 235,000 SF phase, designed by Master Plan architects ZGF includes major exhibits on life sciences and technology, an IMAX theater, a special exhibit gallery, conference center, shops, and amenities. Phase II of the Science Center expansion opened in 2010 and was designed in a joint venture of architects ZGF and Esherick, Homsey Dodge and Davis (EHDD). This phase consists of a new 160,000 SF expansion building attached to the west side of the Phase I building. The programmatic centerpiece of the Phase II building is Ecosystems, where guests visit 12 diverse ecosystems and explore the ecological principles that shape our world. Each ecosystem offers an unprecedented mix of hands-on exhibits and living habitats with live plants and animals. A highlight of Ecosystems is a 188,000 gallon walk-through aquarium featuring a living kelp forest. Also included are offices, back-of-house facilities, and an expansion gallery for future life science exhibits.

Phase III will consist of an expansion building on the east end of the Phase I building. This expansion will be the site of a new Air and Space Center which will include handson science exhibits, immersive experiences, and historic air and space artifacts. A main feature of the building will be the Space Shuttle Endeavour recently awarded to the California Science Center Foundation by NASA. The Shuttle will be displayed as a national treasure in conjunction with exhibits and experiences that explore the science, technology, engineering and math principals and applications related to the shuttle program.

The preliminary vision for the Phase III building includes:

  • The Phase III expansion building will attach east of the Phase I building and be effectively integrated with both Phase I and II buildings.

  • The size of the project will be approximately 200,000 SF of new construction, housing approx. 70,000 SF of new exhibits and historic artifacts. The remaining space will be for back-of-house facilities and offices.

  • Programming includes interactive exhibits, immersive experiences, and historic artifacts for public display both suspended and floor mounted.

  • The Space Shuttle Endeavour will be displayed in a vertical stack position as a main feature of the building. The public will not be allowed to enter or touch the space shuttle.

  • The project design and proposed operation shall incorporate ecologically sustainable measures. It is the intention of the Science Center that this new building will operate as sustainably as can be achieved within a reasonable budget.

  • The GC will be selected to advise early in the project and be contracted on a GC-at-risk basis.

Project Schedule

The estimated project schedule is as follows:

Fall 2011 Programming and Concept Design
Spring 2012 - Spring 2013 Schematic Design, Design Development, and Construction Documents
Fall 2013 - Fall 2015 Construction
Fall 2015 - Spring 2016 Install exhibits and artifacts, preview, opening Submission Process and Due Date

If this challenging assignment is of interest to you, please submit your written response in twelve (12) bound copies, one unbound copy, and a pdf version on disc or flash drive of your qualifications and written response, no later than 1:00 pm on Friday October 7, 2011. The response should be in accordance with the Submittal Format described below.

To ensure fairness to all firms participating, all communications related to this RFQ shall be directed to Diane Perlov, Ph.D., Senior Vice President for Exhibits via email at dperlov@cscmail.org . Revisions, clarifications, or other information determined by the Foundation to be of material interest to all proposers will be distributed in writing only by this office. During this selection process, no other contact will be accepted with any member of the Science Center or Foundation organization.

The California Science Center serves a public education purpose and is committed to promoting the fullest possible participation by all citizens in access to employment and contracts as well as in visitation. In this regards, every effort will be made to ensure that all persons, regardless of race, religion, sex, color, ethnicity, and national origin have equal access to contract, subcontract and other business opportunities with the Foundation. Reflecting our commitment to inclusion, diversity, our community and our mission, strong consideration will be given to small, minority, and women-owned businesses in order to preserve free competitive enterprise and to ensure that a fair proportion of the total purchases and contracts or subcontracts for services shall be placed with these enterprises. When the balance of the project team is selected with the Science Center and ZGF, our goal is to utilize small, minority, and women-owned businesses, when possible.

Address submittal to:
Diane Perlov, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President for Exhibits
California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Drive
Los Angeles, CA. 90037


Selection Criteria

The Foundation is seeking a creative and technically experienced Executive Architecture team. Candidates should be prepared to demonstrate how their innovations in the design of other projects have resulted in well executed, cost-effective, state-of-the-art facilities.

The Screening and Selection Committees will be interested in teams with the following experience and qualifications:

  • Excellence in technical design and execution. Have proven capability to provide creative, functional, flexible, and technologically sound design solutions with an economy of means and within the project budget.

  • Demonstrated relevant experience and commitment of Principal-in-Charge, Project Manager, and Project Architect.

  • Technical expertise in developing high quality, well-coordinated construction documents for complex projects, and excellent follow-through during construction.

  • Experience includes serving as Executive Architect on a recent project.

Comparable Experience.

  1. Experience in recent, large and complex building projects of similar facilities and with multiple stakeholders.

  2. Experience in addressing the architectural challenges of museum spaces with artifacts, including: installation sequencing, security, rigging, using light as a factor to enhance viewing while mitigating potential light damage to artifacts, noise mitigation, acoustics for public address, audio-visual and internet accessibility for programs, consideration for ADA and maintenance, and experience with controlling any other unique environmental conditions.

  3. Experience in working with clients from non-profit institutions and governmental entities.

  4. Experience coordinating with diverse contractors and staff of a project, such as exhibit designers and fabricators.

  5. Have demonstrated firm and individual team member capability to work creatively and sensitively within an existing, operational facility in an existing campus context.

  6. Demonstrated experience working with historic facilities or in a setting with historic facilities.

  7. Demonstrated ability to understand the building's program and be responsive to program issues.

  • Demonstrated attention to problem solving.

  • Ability to be responsive to multiple inputs in a timely fashion.

  • Demonstrated experience with sustainable design, including completed projects that received LEED® certification, or completed projects that demonstrably conserve energy and other resources.

  • Demonstrated experience in meeting seismic requirements including past collaboration with structural/seismic consultants as required.

  • Demonstrated excellence in adhering to limited project budgets and in meeting critical schedules from design through construction.

  • Demonstrate the availability of personnel who would be assigned to this project, based on a presentation of the current and projected workload of the firm.

Selection Process

The Foundation will convene a Screening Committee to review submissions and recommend a short list of firms to be interviewed by a Selection Committee. The Foundation will contact the short-listed firms to schedule a site tour, briefing and to schedule interviews. The Foundation may visit one or more buildings by the firm(s) and speak with past clients and/or references.

The Foundation reserves the right to request any further documentation that it deems appropriate and necessary for the screening and selection process.

The Foundation shall have no obligation to any company or firm or the successful proposer(s) unless or until the Foundation and the successful proposer(s) fully execute a final and definitive contract between the parties.


Firms submitting their qualifications for the project must follow the format below. Material must all be in 8-1/2 x 11 inch format-no foldouts. Double-sided printing is encouraged. Firms may choose to submit supplemental material; such additional material will be reviewed at the option of the Screening and Selection Committees. Provide twelve (12) bound copies, 1 unbound copy, and a digital pdf version on disc or flash drive.

Cover Letter (maximum of 1 page)

  • Identify team
  • Provide name of contact person, phone, email, and fax
  • Summarize qualifications most relevant to this project

Relevant Firm Qualifications (maximum of 2 single-sided or one double-sided page)

  • Firm overview and summary of qualifications that are relevant to this project
  • Provide short, focused paragraphs by topic (i.e., building type; technical aspects; BIM, sustainability / LEED; etc.)
  • Submit proof of California Architectural License.
  • Describe the team's proximity to the project site and your ability to provide appropriate staffing on site during construction.

Relevant Project Experience (maximum of 10 single-sided or 5 double-sided pages)

Provide photos / illustrations and briefly state relevance of each project in regards to the criteria desired for this Project. Specify the role of the firm or individual if work was not exclusively by the firm (i.e., joint venture, association). Projects where the person who led the effort is no longer with the firm shall not be considered in the assessment of the candidate's capability. If the work was done by individuals while with other firms, this must be clearly stated. Strong preference will be given to qualifying projects done by the submitting firm, lead by individuals while employed at that firm, and that such individuals shall be a part of this project team. In addition, provide a list of the following for each project:

  • Project name and location
  • Beginning and ending dates of project (including construction)
  • Size / square footage
  • Main program elements
  • Summarize sustainable features or LEED® level achieved
  • List non-owner initiated change orders with brief explanation
  • List contractor and engineering consultants
  • Provide Owner name with name of contact person, telephone, and email
  • Indicate if you have had experience working as the Executive Architect where there was a separate Design Architect, providing the Design Architect name and name of contact person, telephone, and email.

Note: Projects that are currently in design or under construction are acceptable, but completed projects may carry more weight in the evaluation.

Project Team Summary (maximum of 2 single-sided or one double-sided page)

  • Identify key team members at a minimum for the Principal-in-Charge, Project Manager, and Project Architect. For each team member:

i) State their qualifications relevant to programming services and the scope of this project
ii) Describe their past project roles with the specific project examples.
iii) Submit key team member resumes.

  • The Science Center is only selecting the Executive Architect at this time. All subconsultants shall be under contract to the Executive Architect. The selection of subcontractors shall be done in collaboration with the Foundation and ZGF with the subcontractors being acceptable to all parties. The Foundation has particular interest in the selection of MEP and structural engineers. At this time, please provide 1-2 MEP and structural engineers with whom you have experience and would recommend be considered as consultants and/or subcontracts for this project.

  • If you envision any unique consultants that may be required for this type of project, indicate what they might be.


  • Submit four firm references and contact information for each reference. Of these, 2 should be Client references and 2 Contractor references. In addition, please provide 2 references each for the Principal-in-Charge, Project Manager, and Project Architect.

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Last updated: 12-Dec-2012 01:21 AM
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