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The cosmic enigma of black holes are both extraordinary and cryptic. What is it really like to be in these uncharted territories? The best explanation we have in our current era is the paramount “Theory of Relativity” by Albert Einstein. The thesis of the project examines the relationship between the variables of the equations, gravity attraction and density. Because there are still a lot of unknowns, this opens up many possibilities for interpretation, such as what happens beyond the event horizon. From what we know about einstein’s theory, these general concepts can be applied to create experiential architecture. How do we simulate various gravitational anomalies and occurrences, such as time dilation and light bending, with architecture? Rather than just being a simple showroom structure, the design of this planetarium attempts to give the user different “dimensional” experiences with each space configuration, using form and light.

The site of the project is in Governor’s Island in New York City which is at the center of all five boroughs. The project investigates the site factor of population density within the city’s 150-year history. With each borough becoming a mass center point and each having a different population density, what are the reactions as it changes over time? The drawings become the history of the city’s evolution in relation to time. The year 1850 could be considered the “big bang” of the infamous American city. Subsequent population densities are then analyzed every 50 years, to observe how this micro-universe expanded to its current state. These density variations over time have shown its effect on city growth.

This planetarium becomes a microcosm of the current state of the city and our universe as a whole. Governor’s Island becomes the brane and the planetarium becomes a system within the brane. Like the density studies, points are placed within the site boundaries based on access within the site. Attraction forces are then applied on these points and a surface is generated. The relationship between masses with different force magnitudes exhibits a distorted space-time field. The point with the heaviest density overpowers its adjacent neighbors with lower attraction forces and distorts their fields.

The design of this planetarium focuses on the development of these generated surfaces and applying program. Planetarium paradigm changes within this design as it becomes more of a public experiential space rather than just a single theater like setting. The program incorporates numerous exhibition zones in different “dimensions” with each having its own unique spatial character. Along with exhibition zones, the planetarium also becomes a haven for researchers as it includes labs and offices. The fluctuation of interior geometry and “wormhole” passageways give visitors an experience of time dilation as each space is completely different and daylight levels shift irregularly over time. As soon as people enter the space, they lose their sense of direction. They will naturally move towards and be attracted to the event horizon of the planetarium as they venture through these different interior dimensions.