Science Center, Belgrad
Veronika Hofrichter-Ritter, Matthias Moosbrugger, Christian Freissling
Peter Mandl and Partners ZT GmbH
‘A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on.” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!” ‘
(from „A Brief History of Time“ by Stephen Hawking)
The present concept tries to transform the complexity of science into a landmark with great public appeal.
The reflective retrospective on a developing scientific perspective of the universe is the point of origin for the present concept. In the form of a helix the building evolves from the lobby via the exhibition rooms through to the planetarium. Starting from a zero-point (BIG BANG) the helix implies its continuous progression into eternity. Based on the currently accepted space-time and big bang theory this constitutes a symbol of the non-definitiveness of science and the necessity to keep on researching so that, perhaps, one day the complexity of our universe may be understood.
Also the designed configuration of the façade adopts the rising rotation of the helix. It’s closeness diminishes from bottom to top. With advancing height the appearance of the building becomes more and more transparent.
The view into the hall rising from the lobby of the science center resembles the view of an atom through an electron microscope. In this way the tiniest unit of the universe becomes a formative element of the building.
In the exhibition areas there are platforms at ground level for the exhibits from which the helix progresses into the sky.
Moreover, each level is accessible by 2 elevators which take the visitors directly to their desired destination within the science center (planetarium, science club, roof terrace).
The conference hall and the administration department are located in the plinth area of the building, which is closely connected to the traffic concept (parking of coaches, cars and loading activities).
The garden of science is located at the foot of the building.
Within the present project the science center is seen as a “representative entrance building“ for the future campus which is designed in the form of a clear-cut grid – separated into individual areas. The connecting element is a green park landscape which provides the necessary connections above ground as well as below grade.
The sciences of complexity were developed rudimentarily in the 19th century, were enlarged upon the quantum theory and the theory of relativity in the beginning of the 20th century and evolved – enhanced by non-linear dynamics and the chaos theory – into a complexly branched river delta during the end of the century.
The twelve main jumps of the universe. Each higher level is based on the previous jump and raises the questions if we could have reached it more quickly or in a different way and in how far we are embedded within the laws which brought the process into being. Did the universe know about our arrival? The eye of consciousness reflects back to the universe.
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