In brief

Renzo Piano Plans Dinosaur Museum

Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil at the Carnegie Museum of National History, Pittsburgh. Photo: Scott Robert Anselmo, via Wikipedia.

Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil at the Carnegie Museum of National History, Pittsburgh. Photo: Scott Robert Anselmo, via Wikipedia.

Renzo Piano's preliminary designs for a new subterranean dinosaur museum housed in an old quarry in Portland, England, have been revealed, reports the BBC.

Portland sits on Dorset's Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising a 95 mile stretch of cliffs dating to the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, that showcases some 180 million years of geological history. Based on his early sketches, Piano would install a glass and steel roof over a limestone quarry some 132 feet deep. Jurassica Museum exhibitions would include an aquarium and animatronic dinosaur displays.

Although the design comes from Piano, the original concept idea comes from science journalist Mike Hanion. "Visitors will be led into a space of absolute wonder and marvel. It will be a subterranean treasure trove," he said at the meeting for the presentation of the design.

Renzo Piano's early sketches the Jurassica Museum in Portland, England. Photo: Renzo Piano, via the BBC.

Renzo Piano's early sketches the Jurassica Museum in Portland, England. Photo: Renzo Piano, via the BBC.

"There is an immense treasure trove of material held by people in Dorset who have been collecting along the cliffs of Charmouth, Lyme Regis, Purbecks and Portland for decades," Hanion added. "It would be great to have somewhere where this material could go on display."

The museum's construction is still in the very early stages, but last week the Local Enterprise Partnership awarded the project £300,000 ($513,000), to be used for a feasibility study. Hanion believes the institution could draw 800,000 visitors annually, and employ some 200 people.