Construction has officially been completed on the world’s largest planetarium in Shanghai.
The giant planetarium has been under construction over in the Lingang area of Pudong since 2016 with an initial reported price tag of 528 million yuan ($82 million).
New York-based Ennead Architects won an international competition to design the planetarium. Here’s how they describe the building’s “celestial design”:
Drawing inspiration form astronomical principles, our design strategy provides a platform for the experience of orbital motion, and utilizes that as a metaphorical reference and generator of form.
Three ‘celestial bodies’ comprise the architecture: the Oculus, the Inverted Dome, and the Sphere. Suspended above the main entry to the Museum, the Oculus demonstrates the passage of time by tracking a circle of sunlight on the ground across the entry plaza and reflecting pool. The Inverted Dome, which facilitates an authentic experience of both day and night sky, sits atop the central atrium around which all galleries are organized and through which all visitors pass.
Finally the Sphere contains the domed screen of the Planetarium; a continuous skylight around the Sphere allows direct sunlight to enter and marks the passage of time in the Museum below, with a full circular ring of light realized at the noon hour of the summer solstice.
Now that construction on the building’s outside has wrapped up, focus will switch over to the inside of the planetarium with plans for opening to the public next year.