Shanghai’s futuristic planetarium moved one step closer to reality last week when the celestial museum finally broke ground in the city’s Lingang district. Designed by New York-based Ennead Architects, the 409,000-square-foot Shanghai Planetarium is an international competition-winning design that evokes the experience of orbital motion with its spiraling shapes. The new museum will serve as the astronomical branch of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.
Inspired by astronomical principles, the Shanghai Planetarium comprises three main forms: the Oculus, the Inverted Dome, and the Sphere. All three components double as astronomical instruments tracking the sun, moon, and stars and communicate the changes to visitors through light patterns and views. Every visit to the planetarium will offer a different experience, depending on the time of day and year.
“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,” said Thomas Wong, lead designer of the building and Design Partner in Ennead Architects. The modern building is also a symbol of China’s future ambitions in space exploration. The Shanghai Planetarium is slated to open in 2020.
Images via Ennead Architects