AART Architects A/S's dynamic Science Centre opens in Østfold, Norway
Inspiria Science Centre is designed as one of the most advanced science centres in Northern Europe and is part of a long-term plan to make knowledge the most important asset of the Østfold Region in Norway. This ambitious plan is reflected in the architectural aspiration, as the trifold form is designed as a communications platform merging the environment, energy and health.
The interior program includes 70 interactive exhibitions, workshops and the most advanced planetarium in Northern Europe and Inspiria Science Centre is expected to attract more than 100,000 visitors every year, mainly school trips, families and tourists. Long-term plans to include the community will be addressed by annually offering over 40,000 students of the area a free trip to visit the venue.
Inspiria Science Centre combines communication and architecture into an inspiring and eventful whole, in order to provide new spaces for learning and supports the idea of sustainability as a window of opportunity to increase the quality of life between humans and the environment. Inspiria Science Centre is thus designed as a passive house in close contact with both nature and the users, as glass enclosed wings extend from the focal circular atrium creating a dynamic heart to the building.
By merging the architecture and the science centre’s focus on the environment, energy and health, Inspiria Science Centre is designed as a vibrant communications platform with a clear narrative. The narrative permeates the building design, as the trifold form symbolises nature’s cyclical repetitions and spiral forms, which blend with the technology cycle expressed in the universal power of the circular basic form. The goal has thus been to create a striking building, which in itself constitutes an identity-laden branding of Inspiria Science Centre by uniting the activities of the science centre into a single concept.
Furthermore, Inspiria Science Centre is a unique example of how the public sector and the business community can come together and raise funds to enhance young people's interest in science. The architecture has thus been a significant icon in the branding and fundraising process of the €28.5m science centre. For example, the science centre has been granted €5m in subvention from the Norwegian Government and €7m in subvention from the business community.