Architecture

Perforated, porthole-packed facade peeks into China's technological history

Perforated, porthole-packed fa...
The Exploratorium measures 33,000 sq m (355,200 sq ft) and is finished in an eye-catching reddish aluminum facade
The Exploratorium measures 33,000 sq m (355,200 sq ft) and is finished in an eye-catching reddish aluminum facade
View 10 Images
The Exploratorium measures 33,000 sq m (355,200 sq ft) and is finished in an eye-catching reddish aluminum facade
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The Exploratorium measures 33,000 sq m (355,200 sq ft) and is finished in an eye-catching reddish aluminum facade
The Exploratorium's facade includes many perforations and porthole-like windows
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The Exploratorium's facade includes many perforations and porthole-like windows
The Exploratorium was created in collaboration with Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute is part of a wider cultural center that also includes MVRDV's futuristic library
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The Exploratorium was created in collaboration with Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute is part of a wider cultural center that also includes MVRDV's futuristic library
The interior of the building is centered around a huge central cone that offers access to the entire museum and includes a rocket 
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The interior of the building is centered around a huge central cone that offers access to the entire museum and includes a rocket 
The Exploratorium's central cone is topped by a skylight 
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The Exploratorium's central cone is topped by a skylight 
The Exploratorium was created in collaboration with Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute
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The Exploratorium was created in collaboration with Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute
The Exploratorium's central cone is navigated using a spiraling ramp that ascents from ground level to top
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The Exploratorium's central cone is navigated using a spiraling ramp that ascents from ground level to top
The Exploratorium measures 33,000 sq m (355,200 sq ft) and is finished in an eye-catching reddish aluminum facade
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The Exploratorium measures 33,000 sq m (355,200 sq ft) and is finished in an eye-catching reddish aluminum facade
The Exploratorium's facade includes many perforations and porthole-like windows
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The Exploratorium's facade includes many perforations and porthole-like windows
The Exploratorium's cones throughout are used for hosting exhibition spaces and other large rooms
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The Exploratorium's cones throughout are used for hosting exhibition spaces and other large rooms
View gallery - 10 images

Bernard Tschumi Architects' recently-completed Exploratorium is a scientific museum dedicated to Tianjin, China's long industrial history and is host to various different examples of technology, including rockets related to the country's space research. The building is defined by a series of large cones that help reduce its energy use.

The Exploratorium has a total floorspace of 33,000 sq m (355,200 sq ft) and features an eye-catching reddish aluminum facade that sports many perforations and small porthole-like windows that allow light to enter inside.

The interior of the building is centered around a huge central cone that offers access to the entire museum and includes a rocket 
The interior of the building is centered around a huge central cone that offers access to the entire museum and includes a rocket 

Bringing to mind NYC's Guggenheim's atrium, the interior of the building is centered around a large coned space that's topped by a skylight. Its porthole-like windows and lighting are intended to give the space a constellation-like feel, complementing the rocket installation that takes pride of place.

A spiraling ramp ascends to the top level, allowing visitors to reach the roof and enjoy choice views of the city. Elsewhere in the building, the smaller cones are used for housing exhibition spaces and other areas, including restaurants and retail space.

Interestingly, the cones also function to keep the interior well-lit and a comfortable temperature, reducing the need for artificial lighting and air-conditioning.

The Exploratorium's central cone is navigated using a spiraling ramp that ascents from ground level to top
The Exploratorium's central cone is navigated using a spiraling ramp that ascents from ground level to top

"The cones provide even, natural light to gallery spaces and reduce the energy loads required for artificial lighting," says Bernard Tschumi Architects. "Their tapered forms also concentrate warm air, which can then be channeled out of the building in summer or back into the galleries in winter. Glazing surfaces are minimized except when desired for program. The perforated metal panels of the facade help reduce heat gain. The central, large atrium acts as a solar chimney, drawing up hot air and replacing it with cool air from below in a constant airstream."

The Exploratorium was constructed in collaboration with Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute, and is part of a larger cultural center masterplan that is also home to MVRDV's futuristic library. It's set to open to visitors later this year.

Source: Bernard Tschumi Architects

View gallery - 10 images
2 comments
ljaques
That's one very large building, probably a megawatt of LEDs! I'd call the color "copper and bronze". How long will it take for some kid to see if something rolls all the way down the "ascents"[sic] from top to bottom? I wouldn't mind seeing that museum and getting the exercise, making sure I take my OV respirator with me. (Can I take my ebike inside?)
Nik
I wonder if the dome spiral will function in the same way as the ''whispering gallery'' in St Paul's Cathedral, London?