Fiorillo, who grew up visiting the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University, is also a renowned vertebrate paleontologist with a number of discoveries that will be displayed in the new museum. He holds a particular interest in polar dinosaurs of the Late Cretaceous period and, while working on Alaska’s North Slope a few years ago, Fiorillo and his team discovered a new species of horned dinosaur. (As luck would have it, a PBS documentary crew was on hand to chronicle the find.) After the Perots’ $50 million gift to the building campaign, ?Fiorillo and his associate, Dr. Ronald S. Tykoski, fossil preparator at the museum, decided to name the beast Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum in honor of the museum’s namesake.
The Perot Museum doesn’t just tell stories that span the globe and the centuries, though. It also pays homage to Texas and acknowledges Dallas’ contributions to the march of science and technology. More than an acre of grasses, shrubs and trees representing a microcosm of the state’s landscape, from the deserts of West Texas to the ?forests of East Texas and the coastal wetlands, surround the building; halls bear the names of Texas billionaires including fin?ancier T. Boone Pickens and oilman Trevor? Rees-Jones; and the Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall highlights TI engineer and Nobel Prize winner Jack Kilby (among others), who shares credit for creating the first integrated circuit — “the chip that changed the world” — back in 1958.
But again, that’s all part of the plan for the museum to contain myriad stories and messages inside a building that is itself part of the message. That is, after all, what Mayne had in mind when he designed it.
“A lot of people think of architecture as just a style, but architecture is the result of a thinking process,” Mayne says.
“How do you define the project? What is the project trying to talk about? And what could be a more vital, current topic than science, ecology and nature in the 21st century?”
Chris Tucker, a Dallas-based writer and radio commentator, covered Ross Perot’s presidential campaigns and is co-author of Ross Perot: What Does He Stand For?Chris Tucker, a Dallas-based writer and radio commentator, covered Ross Perot’s presidential campaigns and is co-author of Ross Perot: What Does He Stand For?