We are pleased and excited to announce the winners and awarded entries of Eleven’s Planetarium Competition, our 6th international architecture design challange.

From the dawn of civilization, mankind has had a fascination with the sky. From Stonehenge to the Pyramids of Egypt and South America, architecture has played a central role in the understanding of space and time, both as an observational tool and as a metaphorical experience. The challenge wished to revisit the romance between linking the stars to us humans through the experience of architecture, and recontextualise it in today’s contemporary world, technology and renewed interest in space exploration and discovery.

Today, the Planetarium dome has become the standard vessel for communicating astronomy and astrophysics. However, many of these lessons have become restricted to projections, films or virtual reality, thus downgrading the architecture to a passive container rather than a committed protagonist.

In this competition, we asked the international creative community if architecture itself could become – once again – a tool for experiencing and understanding space. How can architecture engage with and enhance today’s renewed age of space exploration and discovery? What does the next generation of Planetariums look like?

Architects, designers and thinkers from all around the world responded to the challenge with stunning visions of what Planetariums could become, once again placing architecture at the centre of the space experience.

Today, we are excited to showcase the winning entries of Eleven’s Planetarium Competition.

winnerspeoples-choice-combinedGREENWICH DEEP SPACE EXPLORATORIUM
by Jonathan Law, Cheryl Lim & Ashirai Zeyn Musikavanhu (UK / Singapore)
[Winner + People’s Choice]

For the first time in the history of Eleven’s competitions, a team has won both the jury vote and the public vote. This winning planetarium design comes to life in the form of an elegant sensory journey of discovery. Above ground, monolithic ‘alien’ structures are scattered amongst the peaceful setting of Greenwich Park. Below ground, these shells become vessels for galactic exploration, hold within them sensory experiences of space. Prepare yourself to be submerged (quite literally) into the depths of space. Experience the dark nothingness black holes, feel the heat of the brightest burning suns, and be dwarfed by the magnificence of galaxies.

View full entry here

by Christian Gabbiani & Elisa Porro (Italy)
[Runner Up]

A minimal poetic design that focuses on an intimate rediscovery of space and puts you at the centre of the universe. The architecture is underrated but elegant, allowing it to comfortably exist in a whole multitude of contexts around the world. Tiny design, big idea. Your own private corner of space.

View full entry here

hm6-combinedARCHXIS (Architecture for Experiencing Intergalactic Space)
by Albert S. Yu, Jay Panelo, Noriel M. Estipular & Ara Lovinia G. Fronda (Philippines)
[Honourable Mentions]

The idea behind this planetarium is strong, well presented in the sheets and contemporary, helping us understand the galactic (and extragalactic) cosmology beyond our planet in a rational and clear way. It is easy to see this being built in cities around the world. This design uses the architecture fully as part of the experience, rather than as a simple container for space exhibits to exist in.

View full entry here

hm5-combinedCHRONOS: The Space-Time Planetarium
by Drew Heller, Isabella Marcotulli & Ibrahim Salman (USA)
[Honourable Mentions]

The creativity of concept is only overshadowed by the beautiful sheets, which become true works of art in themselves. Eccentric, crazy, yet structured, this design is a building like no other we have seen, which pushes the boundaries of what a planetarium could be. To quote one of our jury members: “Is it realistic? Probably not, but who cares. It makes you go wow and dream. After all, isn’t this what space is all about?”

View full entry here


by Ryan Danny Baxter & Amanda Mei Schwarz (USA)
[Honourable Mentions]

This scheme has a quirky retro feel and matching graphics. It is a hybrid between a school science fair and a high-school sports event (where are the cheerleaders?). We love its fun-natured spirit and the possibility of creating an event (rather than a building) around the idea of learning about space which can be enjoyed by both children and adults. The fair has the added bonus of allowing for the event to change in time and travel the world, accessing even the most remote communities.

View full entry here


ANTINOUR: The Planetarium of Rome
by Roberto Fioretti & Tommaso Marenaci (Italy)
[Honourable Mentions]

A beautiful link between past and present through the eternity of space. This design uses architecture to link the user to stars, planets and satellites above. We particularly love the Moon phase gallery: just one of the ways in which this team has manipulated architectural form in subtle ways to create powerful lessons of space through a sensory experience of place. Lovely.

View full entry here


by Justin Jed Zumel (USA) 
[Honourable Mentions]

This planetarium is more than a piece of architecture. It is a grand vision which is captivating in concept and graphically. We love the way the design team chose an unconventional site and how important figures in the history of physics, space and astronomy are represented in architecture, existing within the overall scheme like planets in full orbit. Hard to imagine a visitor not being awed by the grander of the design and the boldness of the experiences held within.

View full entry here


by Keonwoo Kim & Jeong A Lee (South Korea)
[Honourable Mentions]

Simple, elegant, beautifully presented and unlike anything else submitted in this competition. We particularly loved the idea of flipping the dome (literally) to create a new way of experiencing space. We like the tension in walking the ‘space plank’ (as we called it) and feeling like you are floating in the middle of stars. This project has a potential to profoundly impact on one’s perceptions.

View full entry here



There are many more visions of Planetariums to discover. Click here to see all of the entries of Eleven’s Planetarium Competition.



We would like to thank our competition jury for working with us in this competition. These were: Christina Ciardullo (Architectural Designer and Educator), Thomas Wang (Partner, Ennead Architects), Lars Lindberg Christensen (Head of Education and Public Outreach, ESO), Dan Goods (Artist in Residence, NASA JPL), Eric Hanson (Founder and Partner, xRez Studio), Jim Sweitzer (Astrophysicist and Museum Consultant), Stephen Dubois (Secretary, Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society), Charles Beichman (Executive Director, NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, Caltech / NASA JPL), Dennis Cohen (Creative Director and Experience Designer, Ralph Applebaum Associates),  Eloise Carr (Editor & Creative, Eleven), Andrea Verenini (Founder, Eleven).

Eleven’s Planetarium Competition was run in partnership with Christina Ciardullo and sponsored by the Middle Atlantic Planetarium Society (MAPS). Eleven would like to thank Christina and MAPS for making this fascinating competition possible.


3… 2… 1… LIFT OFF!

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