LOCATION: Berlin | GER
ACHIEVEMENTS: Finalist | Shortlisted
The project aims to create an educational and research center to promote the knowledge of the World, its history and transformations. The new museum does not appear as an autonomous and independent structure. It is a building in keeping with its surroundings and able to exchange energies with the nearby institutions. For this purpose many internal and external spaces such as the park, the botanical garden, the plaza, the auditorium, and the food service area have been designed in a flexible way, in order to host public events of different kinds.
The large exhibition theca is conceptually similar to the Pergamon Museum and it has been developed in order to create a complex and amazing educational journey, according to the museum statement. The largest space could be considered such as a huge container within other smaller volumes have been placed. These smaller objects have specifically been designed to host parts of the exhibition and they have been linked together in a continuous path.
The building’s cladding is characterized by two layers made of variable translucence panels. This special skin hides the supporting structure and ensures a high thermal insulation. Besides, the panels allow both the sunlight to penetrate into the structure during the day and the artificial lights to be seen outside during the night.
As a result the building is constantly different and transforms its aspect during the day.
The theca supporting structure is a steel mesh made of box-shaped beams. The web is not regular but it follows the structural building stress state and its deformation trends. Despite the facts that the building’s structure is hidden between the internal and external coverings, both inner and outer panels follow the beams trend, revealing the structural mesh.
In addition to that, the area between the two layers is accessible: the beams can be traveled, in order to allow the air conditioning and the lighting plant maintenance.
The exhibition starts off with the description of the universe genesis, the Big Bang theory, and the birth of solar system (1). Walking along the path, the guests are introduced to the laws that rule the planet equilibrium, the concept of gravity and the birth of the Earth.
The next step is the description of the plate-tectonic theory. People can understand the Earth thanks to screenings or multimedia animations, as well as passing through a 1:1 scale installations. Moreover this part of the exhibition reproduces the most amazing caves of the Word and the visitor could live, for example, the experience of exploring the Mexican Cueva de los Cristales or the Chinese Er Wang Dong.
Like a time machine, people can be guided to the beginning of the life on Earth. This part of the exhibition describes the evolution of species, from the first unicellular organisms to dinosaurs, in a series of geological periods over billions of years (2).
The tour continues with the description of the climatic zones and their current rich variety of flora and fauna (3). Holograms, bones, full-scale reproductions of plants and animals, as well as videos and interactive installations reproduce the various terrestrial ecosystem.
The representation is not limited to the simple reconstruction of a natural habitats. The whole exhibit path is characterized by a strong theatrical part and tries to engage all five senses. For example, it could be possible to reproduce the polar dark nights and the northern lights, the sub-Saharan warmth and the sub-tropical humidity. The description of the equatorial climate culminates on the top floor, where a greenhouse reproduces the typical rainforest environment (of course, without mosquitoes and leeches).
The greenhouse (4) is REAL and tries to show how a natural ecosystem works, from photosynthesis to flowers pollination. Multimedia installations and tables help to describe one of the most important planet’s habitats, unfortunately endangered due to the uncontrolled deforestation.
The greenhouse is not the only place of the museum in which the respect for our planet is promoted; in the large panoramic terrace (5), for example, people can enjoy the city skyline, but also interact with the outdoor laboratory on sustainability and renewable energies. Thanks to particular tools and experiments, people can understand how to get energy without damaging the nature using water, geothermal energy, sun, wind or algae.
The exhibition ends with a falling in the “deep blue” (6): the great void represents the oceans, the huge mass of water that surrounds the lands, ensuring the life on the planet. The large space describes the rich underwater universe, that is lived by thousands of different and often unknown fishes. This big void permits the exhibition of large animals, giving the opportunity to perceive the real size of a whale or a shark.