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Commercial design |  Feasibility studies - MET Studio

Shanghai Planetarium

Walk through the history of the universe

Client: Shanghai Astronomical Observatory
Service: Concept Design
Size: 60,000 sqm

Project Details

The Shanghai Science Museum invited MET to join an interpretative masterplanning competition for the new planetarium, which was to be developed in the Lingang New Town. The masterplanning project was conducted in parallel with an architectural competition, and the client intentionally provided only very limited information on the plot and building parameters, leaving the design teams to develop completely new concepts. The masterplanning scope included galleries within the large new building, as well as public spaces, landscaped gardens and satellite buildings.

The challenge was to come up with a new way of communicating the ever-changing science of astronomy, while ensuring it was particularly relevant for a Shanghai audience. MET recognised that while the history of astronomy is widely known, the future of astronomy is very much undetermined. The visitor narrative experience was based around the premise of “what we know, what we think we know, and what we think we don’t know”. The aim was very much to inspire the next great astronomer from Shanghai, and allow him to follow in the footsteps of the greats from the past.

MET also wanted to demonstrate that the field of astronomy is one of the most challenging and exciting within science. With this in mind, they proposed that the ground floor was used exclusively to display current research and as a countdown venue for watching important events. Additionally, to add to the social functionality of the museum, to retain and draw visitors back a café based on a space station theme was proposed for the ground floor area.