Space is filled with plethora of moments of magnificence. From the Eagles Nebula where gas giants clatter in pools of energy and stars form with burning fury. To the lonely hydrogen atom, drifting endlessly into the abyss, cutting through nothing but absolute darkness. And to the 12 year old boy gazing through his telescope, knowing that therein lie mysteries and answers to the universe. We have often defined these moments, these moments of insignificant significance, moments of daring and unimaginable scale projected on a large screen to an audience sat face up in a single theatre. Presented to us in a similar format as your ordinary television show is presented to us. A passive experience sat down.
The Planetarium should be a readily available space for the public to experience and explore. For those beginners and first timers who find it difficult to grasp all the knowledge presented to them, can now simply pause, slowly experience, absorb and learn at their own pace. For the fervent users, determined to experience every room and submerge themselves into deep space, feeling the vastness, the endlessness and the infinity, this planetarium allows them to do so, and when they’ve had enough, to also continue from where they left off another day. This proposal for a place of celestial exploration lets people interact with space by traveling through it at their own pace. For we believe that only where there is intrigue, curiosity and interest does proper education happen.
This is a transformation of Greenwich Park – a place of great historical significance in astronomy, into a place with even greater secrets to conceal.
Sixteen monumental black shells, foreign to the genteel and well-manicured landscape of Greenwich Park protrude from the ground. Carved into some are small circular entrances, that allow one into a dark, sheltered threshold space within – almost as a preview of the serenity and otherworldly experiences of what’s to come, before descending into the hollow chambers below.
These shells and chambers hug the existing planetarium and observatory loosely – its central pieces gravitating towards each other in the centre, with its smaller pieces scattered further away across the park. Their external shape-forms subtly deforming as they pull towards one another. Hidden between trees for the curious to find, these chambers curate a series of exploratory journeys made unique to each visitor through a series of interlinking passages, and multitude of subtly placed entrances.
The underground chambers house everything imaginable in space exploration – from pitch black spaces filled with so much nothingness as that of a black hole, to rooms crammed full of the small specks of the most distant stars, or a place where one is dwarfed by the sheer power and heat of suns, this is a labyrinth giving users the chance to submerge themselves into the endlessness, raw power and sheer nothingness of space.