This LEED Platinum-certified construction in the Southern California desert brings the Aquatic Education Center and the Western Center for Archeology and Paleontology together under one roof. Despite the harsh climatic conditions (in summer the temperature there reaches 40 degrees and above, in winter it drops below zero), the architects managed to make a complex with a total area of 6.5 thousand square meters. m as resource-saving as possible. It houses the largest solar panel in the world, consisting of 3,000 450-watt panels and supplying the structure with almost half of the electricity it needs. The amount of electricity consumed is reduced thanks to a variety of sensors and timers that are configured to turn off the lights on time when there is sufficient natural light. And the penetration of sunlight into the exhibition halls ensures the active use of glazing (in this case, thermal insulating glass was used, which does not heat up even in the harsh desert conditions). Heating and cooling of the premises is carried out according to the radiation scheme.
The buildings of the complex are surrounded by a campus with an area of 7 hectares, partly used as a garden: there are planted plants typical of these places, for irrigation of which industrial water is used.
Thus, museums dedicated to water, its use - and its scarcity - in the modern world have become a valid example of respect for this non-renewable resource.
At the same time, Michael Lehrer managed to successfully solve the problem of the external attractiveness of the structure (this question is increasingly raised in connection with the "green" buildings, since in the pursuit of energy activity, architects often completely forget about the aesthetic side of the project). The complex consists of steel and glass buildings connected together by spacious terraces, the facades of which are decorated with five 12-meter towers of polished steel panels. Inside, the open plan exhibition space is filled with sunlight and air.
The two museums that make up the Water + Life complex were supported by the Southern California Water Resources Authority in conjunction with the construction of the nearby Diamond Valley Reservoir, the largest excavated reservoir in the world. In the course of its construction, completed in 1999, many important fossils from the point of view of paleontology were dug up to the surface. Half of the new museum ensemble is intended for their storage and display.