Beijing Science Center

The “Science Cloud” design takes into acount the exposed location at the junction of the third ring road and Beijing‘s central north/south axis, on which attractions such as the Forbidden City, Tia-nanrnen Square, and, to the north, the site of the 2008 Olympic Games are to be found. In this prominent position, the museum's striking design will give the city yet another landmark. In the south and east the building opens onto a spacious public plaza, shielding the adjoining residential quarters in the north from the busy roads. At the same time the museum forecourt is not only the place where visitors arrive but also somewhere the inhabitants of the neighboring districts can spend time. Trees and expanses of greenery create a natural transition and a visual dividing line between the exhibition building and the road.

The new building's key element is a floating structure measuring 133.5 by 133.5 meters, which rises above the pedestal building at a height of around 20 meters. This roof is supported by numerous, extremely slender columns, which, based on the image of a bamboo grove, form a concentrated forest of columns. They create a spatial transition from the public road to the scientiflc exhibition area. The exhibition's aim is to give visitors access to future technology, science, and research. The forest of columns, water basin and the slanting pedestal create an architectural topography that leads the visitors from the city lnto the museum's exhibition world. The spherical edifice housing the former Beijing Science Centers, (the sphere with the 3D cinema), which was well known in the city, is to be integrated in the new museum bulldlng, thereby preserving its significance and standing.

The exhibition is divided into three sections: the permanent exhibition, changing exhibitions, and the ‘Virtual Experience". The latter section is housed in the spherical structure. Apart from the three exhibition levels 5, 6 and 7, which cover a surface area of some 40,000 square meters in the float-lng edifice, what is known as the “Science Cloud”, the museum, which has a total surface area 65,240 square meters, also boasts the following facilities: two further sections for changing exhibitions covering a suiface area of 4,960 square meters in total, rooms for museum-related educational activities, an auditorium, a restaurant and a museum cafe, not to mention integrated services. The research arid administration areas are located in the noithem section of the pedestal.

The structure of the building comes across as open and inviting, with no large glass sections, which is advantageous in terms of both the flexible exhi-bition conoept on the inside and the energy ooncept. The facades stand out for their white, thermally insulated square and rhomblc aluminum panels. Various-size window openings emphasize the dynamic shape of the edifices and make the activities on the inside visible. Furthermore, LED lighting in the exhibition area ensures reduced electricity consumption. The water basins humidlfy and cool the air naturally.

Description by KSP - Jürgen Engel Architekten



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