What do we capture with our own eyes when we look up to the sky? Sun, moon, stars, clouds…However, the objects that we witness are never fixed. During the day and night, we observe constantly changing scenes, but in a very slow pace in which we cannot easily perceive. It is likely to say that we are watching a movie, which is an outcome of rotation and revolution of the Planets with a myriad of stellar movements, running 24/7 endlessly.
However, unlike the spectacular scenery that space shows, a prototype that we have on planetarium is quite generic. Mostly like dome-shaped auditoriums contained in a building with a projection screen displaying man-edited videos or digital simulations. Even though the planetarium is showing realistic celestial simulations with the aid of advanced digital and computer technologies, it still cannot be compared to live scenery.
Therefore, this proposal suggests a new type of planetarium, where audiences can experience breathtaking moments with their naked eyes. In order to achieve the goal, planetarium is designed with very simple but minimal architectural gesture to allow more opportunities for people to focus on the celestial movements. The planetarium consists of three components, upside-down hemisphere volume, digital screen that covers the dome, and transparent glass bridge. Instead, human being plays an active role. Human is not just a spectator watching motions of the heaven in this scheme. In other words, the interaction between human-nature-architecture is the key concept of this project.
Planetarium is located in ‘Great Plains’ near Lincoln, Nebraska, United States. The Great Plains is the broad expanse of flat land, covered in prairie and grassland. The site offers a complete separation from the urban environment to help visitors be overwhelmed by the pristine natural surroundings.
The planetarium performs two different functions throughout the day and night. During daytime, the planetarium appear as a sun dial. Inspired by the Asian 3D sun dial, people will interact with space through the trace of the sun. Digital screen will project timelines as well as solar term lines on the hemisphere. As person stands on the tip of bridge, a shadow will indicate the time and solar term of that moment. When it comes to nighttime, the planetarium becomes a 3D constellation map. While spectators enjoy a stunning starry sky, hemisphere screen will display a real-time constellation map to provide information of the celestial bodies. Also, this map helps people to find out a time through the Polaris and Ursa Major known as Big Dipper.