Ennead Architect’s proposal for a new Planetarium in Shanghai is not only a stunning piece of  sculptural architecture, but one that connects the user to the space above. Throughout time, mankind had been fascinated with the wonders of space. Architecture has been used as a tool to understand the passage of time and study the astronomy. Recently, planetariums have become containers for a more virtual experience in the form of videos and digital media projects. Now, Ennead Architects show us that architecture can, once again, become an engaging mechanism for the user to undertsand space directly through the forms of the planetarium itself and the way it interacts with the ever flowing movement of the sun, the moon, the planets and the stars.


The design – winner of an international competition-winning – draws inspiration from astronomical principles, invoking the experience of orbital motion. Each of the building’s three principal forms – the Oculus, the Inverted Dome and the Sphere acts as an astronomical instrument, tracking the sun, moon and stars and reminding visitors that our conception of time originates in distant astronomical objects.nn

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The building form, program and circulation support the flow of visitors through the galleries and the experience of these three central bodies. “In linking the new Museum to both scientific purpose and to the celestial references of buildings throughout history, the exhibits and architecture will communicate more than scientific content: they will illuminate what it means to be human in a vast and largely unknown universe,” says Thomas Wong, lead designer of the building and Design Partner in Ennead Architects.



Celebrating the continuum of time and space, the planetarium is modern and forward looking while at the same time presents a link to the past, mirroring both the rich history of Chinese astronomy and the future ambitions of China’s space exploration program.

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Construction of Ennead Architects’ award-winning Shanghai Planetarium is well under way after breaking ground at the end of last year. The new Shanghai Planetarium, a 38,000 SM / 409,000 SF museum that will become the astronomical branch for the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum (SSTM) and define a new identity within for the Lingang district of Shanghai. The project, led by Thomas Wong and management partner Guy Maxwell, is to open in 2020.

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The Shanghai Planetarium is exemplary of Ennead’s current work in China, which includes the Taopu SciTech City Master an and Phase I Development, Huawei Wuhan Research and Development Campus, and Lingang Sci Tech city. These designs integrate commercial, cultural and civic uses to sponsor civic engagement in 21st-century Chinese cities.

Are you inspired by Ennead’s New Shanghai Planetarium? Then why not try your hand at designing your own revolutionary Planetarium. Come and join Eleven’s latest architecture and design competition, Planetarium: The Experience of Space. There is still plenty of time to join as the competition runs until the 11th of August 2017. Click here to find out more!


About the Architects

Ennead Architects is an internationally-acclaimed, New York-based studio with an office in Shanghai. Renowned for its educational, cultural, scientific and governmental building designs, which authentically express the progressive missions of their institutions and enhance the vitality of the public realm, Ennead has been a leader in the design world for decades. Recipient of the prestigious AIA NY Medal of Honor, the Smithsonian Institution-Cooper Hewitt National Design Award and the National AIA Firm Award, as well as numerous design awards for individual buildings, the studio has a portfolio that is diverse in typology, scale and location and includes new construction, renovation and expansion, historic preservation, interior design and master planning. Ennead’s collaborative process is rooted in extensive research involving the analysis of context, program, public image, emerging technologies and a commitment to sustainable solutions.