Our proposal for the National Science and Innovation Centre is designed to popularise science through hands-on enquiry and exposition. By making full use of the sites specificity of this island in the river, a series of spaces are created that make the building a destination of its own. Apart from excellent exhibition spaces, the building provides a south oriented sheltered terrace overlooking the river and an activated crossroads that will become a lively hub as a satellite space for the city. The spatial quality of the sheltered semi public space will attract people into this wonderful world of science who would initially maybe not belong to the primary target group of a National Science and Innovation Centre. The building on top of the crossroads has three main areas of support that act as lobbies. Each space has a dedicated use: cafe and restaurant, the retail space and the offices and support spaces. The offices and support spaces have their own uninterrupted access to the upper floors. The geometry of the building is based on the well known Venn diagram, showing the relationships between the three interconnecting themes of the Centre: The Human, The Machine and Nature/Ecology. Each gallery provides a magnificent view integrating the experience of the surrounding landscape into the Science and Innovation Centre. The temporary galleries are located to the west and are accessed separately. The Experimentorium and the separately accessible Research Laboratories are located in the cavity between the inside and the outside wall of the exhibition space. The flexible Event Space is located at the west side of the building overlooking the old city. The ‘Virtual Planetarium’ is located to the south side of the building above the cafe and restaurant and can be accessed separately. The building is designed as a building that can adapt as technology progresses. The building is designed as a gradual change from landscape to the interior. The landscape is continuing underneath and through the courtyard the roof making it part of the landscape integrating science and nature into the building. The building services uses the landscape around the building. The systems are part of the exhibits in the park. The building is a showcase for climate science, a technological showcase with the building as exhibit. The building is designed to meet Leed Platinum Certification. In order to meet the 25 million euro maximum budget target the building is designed as a straight forward lightweight warehouse construction on top of a raised pedestal foundation. The foundation up to the first floor is made out of concrete and the construction on top is of lightweight cross laminated timber. The faceted curvature of the roof made out of cross laminated timber is based on a straight forward 6x6x6 meter planning grid in order to fit into the time and budget constraints provided.
Claudio Lucchesi, Anna Liuzzo, Theodoros Kanellopolous