KSP’s ‘Science Cloud’ takes first prize in Beijing Science Center competition
KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten International has won the first prize in an international competition for the new Beijing Science Center. The original building housing the Museum was opened at the same location in Beijing in 1988 and at the time was the first national science and technology museum in China. The museum building will be constructed on behalf of the Beijing Association for Science and Technology, China.
In the south and east the building opens onto a spacious public plaza, shielding the adjoining residential quarters in the north from the busy roads. At the same time the museum forecourt is not only the place where visitors arrive but also somewhere the inhabitants of the neighbouring districts can spend time. Trees and expanses of greenery create a natural transition and a visual dividing line between the exhibition building and the road.
The new building’s key element is a floating structure measuring 133.5 by 133.5m, which rises above the pedestal building at a height of around 20m. This roof is supported by numerous, extremely slender columns, which, based on the image of a bamboo grove, form a concentrated forest of columns. They create a spatial transition from the public road to the scientific exhibition area.
The exhibition’s aim is to give visitors access to future technology, science, and research. The forest of columns, water basin and the slanting pedestal create an architectural topography that leads the visitors from the city into the museum’s exhibition world. The spherical edifice housing the former Beijing Science Centers, (the sphere with the 3D cinema), which was well known in the city, is to be integrated in the new museum building, thereby preserving its significance and standing.
The exhibition is divided into three sections: the permanent exhibition, changing exhibitions, and the ‘Virtual Experience’. The latter section is housed in the spherical structure. Apart from the three exhibition levels 5, 6 and 7, which cover a surface area of some 40,000 sq m in the floating edifice, what is known as the ‘Science Cloud’, the museum, which has a total surface area 65,240 sq m, also boasts the following facilities: two further sections for changing exhibitions covering a surface area of 4,960 sq m in total, rooms for museum-related educational activities, an auditorium, a restaurant and a museum café, not to mention integrated services. The research and administration areas are located in the northern section of the pedestal.