Construction work is underway in China at the site of the Shanghai Planetarium, a new 38,000 square meter museum designed by Ennead Architects. When complete in 2020, the institution will become the astronomical branch for the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum (SSTM) and will help provide the city’s Lingang District with a new identity.
Ennead’s competition-winning scheme references astronomical principles, evoking the experience of orbital motion. Each of the building’s three principal forms — the oculus, the inverted dome and the sphere — act as astronomical instruments, tracking the sun, moon, and stars. In turn, the building’s form, program, and circulation support the flow of visitors through its galleries — allowing them to fully experience 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 at Ennead Architects.
The planetarium seeks to celebrate the continuum of time and space with a design that both mirrors the renowned history of Chinese astronomy, and the future ambitions of the country’s space exploration program.The project, which will be led by Thomas Wong and Ennead Management Partner Guy Maxwell, is scheduled to open its doors to the public in 2020.