Renzo Piano's gleaming Museo delle Scienze opens to the public in Trento, Italy
A Science Museum in the emerging Le Albere area of Trento, Italy has opened to the public. Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the glassy form sits at the far end of the main pedestrian route through the up-and-coming Le Albere development and overlooks a public park and Palazzo delle Albere.
The 11 hectare Le Albere area is undergoing a large-scale redevelopment project which looks to urbanise a somewhat locked-in plot formerly used as a Michelin factory, bordered on one side by a railway line, to the north by Palazzo delle Albere and to the south by Monte Baldo Road.
Piano’s latest scheme nods to his shimmering 308m tower in London, The Shard, with large splinters of glass forming an asymmetrical silhouette on the Trento skyline. At the summit of the 5,000 sq m building is a decked viewing platform. This observation point can be found at the top of the main exhibition spaces, the design of which draws on the scientific themes of the mountain and glacier, rising from the basement levels to the open-air summit.
The museum and research venue rises through 6 levels and incorporates 2,700 sq m of permanent exhibitions, 780 sq m of temporary exhibitions, a 700 sq m tropical greenhouse, a 100 sq m children’s corner, 680 sq m of events space, laboratories, educational labs, a conference hall, library and café.
From outside the form appears to be floating on a mass of water, its glassy exterior adding to a feeling of weightlessness. The exhibition spaces are approached as a sequence of solids and voids, held together at the top by the large roof layer. As the images shown here demonstrate, the glass panels of the façade are interspersed with solid masses onto which graphics can be projected.
The permanent exhibitions are arranged in concentric rings around a central void, lit from above by the generous skylight. An abundance of birds, animals and dinosaurs are suspended in this open space in full view of visitors so that they can discover new wonders as they meander through the brightly-lit exhibition venue.