The world’s largest astronomy museum is opening in Shanghai, and its complex curvilinear shape has been designed to reflect the geometry of the cosmos. With no straight lines or right angles used throughout, the structure is instead formed from three overlapping arcs that allude to the orbits of celestial bodies.
Opening Friday, the 420,000-square-foot Shanghai Astronomy Museum — a branch of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum — will house exhibitions, a planetarium, an observatory and a 78-foot-tall solar telescope. It was conceived by US firm Ennead Architects, which in 2014 won an international competition to design the building.
“We really thought that we could leverage the architecture to bring incredible impact to this whole experience,” said lead designer and partner Thomas J. Wong in a video interview. “The building is meant to be this embodiment of … astronomically inspired architecture.”
By foregoing straight walls in favor of arcing lines, Wong and his team hoped to show that everything in the universe is in constant motion and governed by an array of forces.