Scandinavia's newest science education center in Østfold is a brilliant green building that seeks to spread knowledge about energy, the environment, and health. The Inspiria Science Center consists of three wings that spread out from a central atrium and host over 70 interactive exhibits created to educate through play. Designed by Danish firm Aart Architects, the science education center forges a close connection between nature, energy-efficient design, and the use of renewable energy to show how sustainable building is a vital part of Norway's future.
The 6,500 square meter center is composed of three wings that radiate out from a central double-height atrium. Designed with school children, families, and tourists in mind, the center inspires and educates through 70 interactive exhibits, workshops, and the most advanced planetarium in northern Europe. Both the architecture of the building and the exhibits within encourage learning and support the idea that sustainability is a way to enhance the quality of life of both people and the environment. A variety of exhibits teach about renewable energy, waste, pollution, the environment, health, food, and nutrition. Overall, the center expects to receive over 100,000 visitors annually, and 40,000 students will be offered free admission through their schools.
Designed as a passive house with a close connection to nature, the building itself supports the activities within. Skylights provide natural daylighting into the exhibit halls and central atrium. A greywater system recycles water for use throughout the building, and a window into the technical room allows visitors to see it in action. A 6 kW wind turbine and a photovoltaic system generate electricity, and a solar hot water system creates domestic hot water for the building. The science center has their own hybrid busses, which they use to transport school children to the center and then back to their schools, and a comprehensive recycling program reduces waste.
Images ©Adam Mørk and Inspiria Science Center