Ennead's Thomas Wong, Todd Schliemann, Charles Wolf, Anthony Guaraldo, and Weiwei Kuang discuss Shanghai Astronomy Museum and the American Museum of Natural History, Rose Center for Earth and Space in iTalk's documentary, In Awe of Space. The documentary is the 8th episode as part of iTalk's A Meeting with Architects series.
The film documents Ennead and SSTM’s mission for the Shanghai Astronomy Museum to educate about Space and create a deeper connection between humanity and the universe, and describes the architectural solutions that help achieve this larger goal.
Recalling similar themes from Ennead’s work on the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Todd Schliemann says “It almost became an imperative that we find a means to broadcast information about Space.” Using the Rose Center as a departure point in designing Shanghai Astronomy Museum, Thomas Wong says, “the idea that there is something so close to us yet so foreign, and so unreachable to our consciousness is really what the Shanghai Astronomy Museum is meant to illuminate.”
Ennead Project Designer, Charles Wolf recalls a guiding question the design team considered in conceptualizing the Shanghai Astronomy Museum “How do you create an astronomical form that has dynamism without ending up having it become some kind of stylistic statement?”
The design creates an immersive experience that places visitors in direct engagement with real astronomical phenomena. Ennead Project Manager, Weiwei Kuang says, “we started off with the idea that this building could be an astronomical instrument of time, that makes people feel how time passes, how seasons change. The building actually underlines that concept of time in ancient Chinese culture, which is very beautiful and poetic.”
Ge Xin, Director of Shanghai Astronomy Museum, notes that “The architects created surprises that make people want to take part in the event…as you go through the different layers of surprise in the building, you experience an emotional flow along the way. The three instruments—the oculus, the sphere, and the inverted dome—are truly the highlights of Shanghai Astronomy Museum.”
The building heightens awareness of our fundamental relationship to the sun and the earth’s orbital motion. Thomas Wong says, “the building captures a little bit of the awe of the universe. We wanted to deliver something to the humans that will visit the Museum that had a sense of incredible awe, of looking up.”
Exclusive Sponsorship: WAC LIGHTING
Producer: iTalk 一言一吾
Special Thanks: Ennead Architects & Shanghai Astronomy Museum