Architecture

World's largest astronomy museum inspired by classic three-body problem

World's largest astronomy muse...
The Shanghai Astronomy Museum has been in the works since 2014 and opened to visitors on July 18
The Shanghai Astronomy Museum has been in the works since 2014 and opened to visitors on July 18
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The Shanghai Astronomy Museum has been in the works since 2014 and opened to visitors on July 18
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The Shanghai Astronomy Museum has been in the works since 2014 and opened to visitors on July 18
The Shanghai Astronomy Museum measures 420,000 sq ft (roughly 40,000 sq m)
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The Shanghai Astronomy Museum measures 420,000 sq ft (roughly 40,000 sq m)
The Shanghai Astronomy Museum's Oculus is located near its entrance
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The Shanghai Astronomy Museum's Oculus is located near its entrance
The Shanghai Astronomy Museum's overall form is defined by three large sections: The Oculus, the Sphere, and the Inverted Dome
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The Shanghai Astronomy Museum's overall form is defined by three large sections: The Oculus, the Sphere, and the Inverted Dome
The Shanghai Astronomy Museum's Oculus functions a little like a sundial and marks the passage of time
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The Shanghai Astronomy Museum's Oculus functions a little like a sundial and marks the passage of time
The Shanghai Astronomy Museum's Sphere is designed so that it has minimal structural supports and appears to float
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The Shanghai Astronomy Museum's Sphere is designed so that it has minimal structural supports and appears to float
The Shanghai Astronomy Museum's Sphere contains a planetarium
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The Shanghai Astronomy Museum's Sphere contains a planetarium
The Shanghai Astronomy Museum's inverted dome offers visitors a view of the sky
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The Shanghai Astronomy Museum's inverted dome offers visitors a view of the sky
The Shanghai Astronomy Museum includes temporary and permanent exhibits
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The Shanghai Astronomy Museum includes temporary and permanent exhibits
The Shanghai Astronomy Museum serves as the new astronomical branch of Perkins + Will's Shanghai Science and Technology Museum
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The Shanghai Astronomy Museum serves as the new astronomical branch of Perkins + Will's Shanghai Science and Technology Museum
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Ennead Architects has completed work on a stunning new astronomy museum in Shanghai, China, that also happens to be the world's largest. The building's curving design – it contains no straight lines or right angles – is inspired by the cosmos and parts of it function a little like an oversized sundial, marking the passage of time.

The Shanghai Astronomy Museum measures 420,000 sq ft (roughly 40,000 sq m). It includes temporary and permanent exhibits, as well as several smaller surrounding buildings, and hosts a solar telescope, an observatory, an education and research center, a theater, and a planetarium, plus viewing points and more. The main building's overall form is defined by three main elements: The Oculus, the Sphere, and the Inverted Dome.

The Shanghai Astronomy Museum's Oculus functions a little like a sundial and marks the passage of time
The Shanghai Astronomy Museum's Oculus functions a little like a sundial and marks the passage of time

The Oculus is suspended above the main entrance and tracks a circle of sunlight on the ground across the entry plaza and reflecting pool. During the summer solstice, there is a full circle, which then lines up with a circular platform in the entry plaza at noon. This sort of thing has been done before with modern architecture of course, but this is a particularly well executed example.

Inside the museum proper is the Sphere. With visible supports kept to a minimum, it's designed to create the illusion of floating in mid-air for visitors, while its interior contains the planetarium theater. Finally, the Inverted Dome is a large inverted glass structure which rests on top of the central atrium of the building and can be reached by a 720-degree spiraling ramp. The area presents visitors with a view of the sky.

The Shanghai Astronomy Museum's Sphere is designed so that it has minimal structural supports and appears to float
The Shanghai Astronomy Museum's Sphere is designed so that it has minimal structural supports and appears to float

"Winners of the international design competition in 2014, Ennead delivered an architecturally ambitious design – without straight lines or right angles, echoing the geometry of the universe and the dynamic energy of celestial movement," explains the firm's press release. "[Architect Thomas J. Wong] drew inspiration from the classic 'three-body problem' in physics, looking to the intricate choreographies created by gravitational attraction of multiple bodies within solar systems. This is reflected in the winding architectural ribbons of the Museum's facade."

The Shanghai Astronomy Museum opened to visitors on July 18, and serves as the new astronomical branch of Perkins + Will's Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, which was completed back in 2015.

Source: Ennead Architects

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4 comments
4 comments
CraigAllenCorson
This is very likely the most beautiful building that I have ever seen, perhaps even the most beautiful anything. It's incorrect to say that there are no straight lines or right angles, though. Quite a few of each are evident in the photos.
SibylTheHeretic
Awesome. I want to go there.
Johannes
So the architects took inspiration from an avocado...
Bibhutibhusan Patel
In 3 bòdy problem in solar system,3 vectòrs of force in constrain motion are involved in a triangle,beside being effected by gravitation of other bodies in solar system and other stars of galaxy minutely.