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Ennead Architects’ Shanghai Planetarium for Science and Technology Museum Breaks Ground

China - Nov 25, 2016 - 21:10   8419 views

Global architecture practice Ennead Architects broke ground last week on the Shanghai Planetarium, the new 38,000 square-metre planetarium that will define a new identity for the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum (SSTM) and the Lingang district of Shanghai. 

The international competition-winning design draws inspiration from astronomical principles, invoking the experience of orbital motion. 

Each of the building’s three principal forms – the Oculus, the Inverted Dome and the Sphere acts as an astronomical instrument, tracking the sun, moon and stars and reminding visitors that our conception of time originates in distant astronomical objects. 

The building form, program and circulation support the flow of visitors through the galleries and the experience of these three central bodies.

"In linking the new Museum to both scientific purpose and to the celestial references of buildings throughout history, the exhibits and architecture will communicate more than scientific content: they will illuminate what it means to be human in a vast and largely unknown universe," states Thomas Wong, lead designer of the building and Design Partner in Ennead Architects.

Celebrating the continuum of time and space, the planetarium is modern and forward-looking while at the same time presents a link to the past, mirroring both the rich history of Chinese astronomy and the future ambitions of China’s space exploration program.

The Shanghai Planetarium is exemplary of Ennead’s current work in China, which includes the Taopu SciTech city master plan and Phase I development (also selected in an international competition), Huawei Wuhan Research and Development Campus, and Lingang Sci Tech city. These designs integrate commercial, cultural and civic uses to sponsor civic engagement in 21st-century Chinese cities.

The project, led by Mr. Wong and management partner Guy Maxwell, is to open in 2020.

Inside invert of Planetarium

Instrument diagram 

Instrument diagram-2

Instrument diagram-3

Initial sketch

Project Facts

Design architect: Ennead Architects

Design partner: Thomas Wong AIA

Management partner: Guy Maxwell AIA

Project director: Grace Chen

Design team: Jorge Arias, Margarita Calero, Christina Ciardullo, Eugene Colberg AIA, Anthony Guaraldo, Regina Jiang, Joerg Kiesow, Stefan Knust AIA, Francelle Lim AIA, Nikita Payusov, Na Sun, Eric Tsui, Stephanie Tung, Chuck Wolf AIA, David Yu.

Local Design Institute: Shanghai Institute of Architectural Design and Research (SIADR) 


MEP/Code/Life safety/Landscape: Shanghai Institute of Architectural Design and Research (SIADR)

Exhibit: Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Inc.

Structural: LERA

Astrophysics Consultant: James Sweitzer, Ph.D.

Lighting: Brandston Partnership, Inc.

All images © ATCHAIN for Ennead Architects

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