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Academy of Natural Sciences Selects Urban
Publication Date
October 22nd 2011

 Urban Engineers, Inc. was recently awarded a contract with the Academy of Natural Sciences to provide mechanical improvements for the Entomology and Ornithology Collection storage room. Urban will be teamed with SaylorGregg Architects.


The challenge of this project will be in designing a mechanical system that enhances the quality of the environment for the millions of specimens housed in the Academy’s Entomology and Ornithology Collection Storage Room…and doing so within a historic, 135-year-old facility. Since 2009, Urban has been assisting the Academy as it undergoes extensive renovations to its facility. “Urban is extremely pleased to continue its professional relationship with the Academy of Natural Sciences. The mechanical upgrades to the facility will maintain the Academy’s unique and historical collections and continue its presence at the forefront of scientific research and education in North America,” said James A. Bilella, PE, Urban’s Vice President and Director of Building Systems.


Currently, the Academy’s entomology collection contains more than 3,500,000 specimens of which more than 11,000 are primary types. The Academy’s ornithology collection contains nearly 200,000 study skins and 15,000 tissue samples. Some specimens in the collection predate the founding of the Academy in 1812 and include important early bird collections from such famous collectors as Alexander Wilson, John Audubon, and John Gould. The Academy’s ornithology department is actively adding specimens, locally and internationally, at a rate of 1,000 specimens per year.


Founded in 1812, the Academy is the oldest natural history museum and research institution in the country and remains world-renowned for its natural history collections, which include more than 17 million artifacts, and its library, which is regarded as one of the finest collections of natural history books, manuscripts, and art. The Academy will be celebrating its bicentennial in 2012.


For more information regarding Urban’s Building Systems services, contact James A. Bilella, PE, at