In 1999, The New York Times Magazine organized an international competition to design a capsule, which would contain objects documenting life on Earth during the 20th Century, and which would be sealed until the year 3000. Santiago Calatrava's design was selected from 50 competition entries submitted from 15 nations. On December 4, 1999, the American Museum of Natural History opened the special exhibition 'Capturing Time: The New York Times Capsule,' with the object designed by Santiago Calatrava as the centerpiece. After the exhibition closed, on March 26, 2000, the capsule was sent back to the fabricator, A.R.T. Design in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where it was filled with artifacts of the 20th Century.
These artifacts had been selected by The New York Times, based on thousands of suggestions made by visitors to the museum exhibition and the newspaper's Web site. Artifacts were treated with preservative and specially packed by the Future Packaging and Preservation company, Covina, California, and then shipped to A.R.T. Design. On March 28, 2001, the artifacts were placed inside The New York Times Capsule, and the capsule was welded shut. The capsule was then installed on the grounds of the American Museum of Natural History on April 26, 2001, at the newly created Judy and Josh Weston Pavilion, designed by Polshek Partnership, New York, NY. The capsule is supposed to remain sealed until January 1, 3000. The capsule is made of polished stainless steel, measures 1.5 meters (5 feet) in diameter and weighs 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds). Its form, resembling a flower, is derived from a series of sculptures by Santiago Calatrava exploring the properties of folded spherical frames. The result in this case is a sculpture with eight segments, with the top four hinged to the bottom four. The segments are all hollow and together contain about 1.4 cubic meters (50 cubic feet) of storage space.
1999 - 2001
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park W & 79th St.
New York, NY 10024
- Time Magazine 'Time 100'
- Award for Excellence in Design