Ennead Architects has unveiled a futuristic design for the new Shanghai Planetarium in Shanghai, China. The New York firm was selected after winning an international competition.
The 38,000sqm (409,000sq ft) project will be part of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum in the Lingang district.
The design celebrates the continuum of time and space and, according to Ennead, the plans mirror the rich history of Chinese astronomy and the future ambitions of China’s space exploration programme.
“In linking the new museum to both scientific purpose and to the celestial references of buildings throughout history, the exhibits and architecture will communicate what it means to be human in a vast and largely unknown universe,” says Ennead Architects partner and design principal Thomas Wong.
The Oculus, the Inverted Dome and the Sphere comprise the central body of the architecture, with the building form, programme and circulation incorporating orbital movement, supporting the flow of visitors through the temporary and permanent galleries and the main areas.
The Oculus has been designed so visitors can track a circle of sunlight on the ground across the entry plaza and its reflecting pool. The Sphere on the outside of the building contains the 18 metre (59 foot) planetarium and acts as an icon and reference point to visitors within the museum; something Ennead says is “integral to the planetarium’s identity”.
Also included in the development will be an expansive green zone, as well as gardens incorporating an exterior exhibitory with a 24 metre (79 foot) solar telescope, youth observation camp and observatory. At this stage development costs are being kept confidential and other contractors working on the project are yet to be confirmed. The completion date is expected to be 2018.