A PUBLIC MONUMENT FOR ASTRONOMY
Living in an age of rapid technological evolution and new inventions, technologies offer unprecedented possibilities to experience astrology and astronomy. As we currently shift form the information age to the knowledge age, new technologies as augmented reality make it possible to create knowledge by experiencing. Experiencing an event a human gains multiple times the knowledge compared to watching films or reading books.
Today the merit of a planetarium as local institution originates from the chance to experience knowledge in a specific physical surrounding. When people are given the possibility to connect information to a location and chat with people about what they have just experienced, people remember more easily.
At the end of the 18th century the architect Étienne-Louis Boullée gave the term monument a new definition. Before that time a monument was something to “remember by” Boullée’s monument refers to any public building housing a public service that is potentially accessible to all people. The Cenotaph for Isaac Newton, which is included in Boullée’s drawing series of public monuments, is not a monument to the person Isaac Newton but rather a monument to science and the general idea of science being opened for the anonymous and free individual.
SO WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF ONE BUILTS A PUBLIC MONUMENT FOR ASTROLOGY?
In the sense of Boullée with its composition of anonymous and simple geometrical volumes, the formal expression of the Hemisphere gives shape to the dimension and infinity of the universe. The vast extent of the Hemisphere works as a walkable platform on which people can individually wander on and experience space. In a sense the Hemisphere acts like a real-time observatory. A place of heightened focus where an individual can experience the movement of the universe in relation to his or herself. It shifts the individual horizon and guides the individual point of view spatially as well as in time.
A PUBLIC SQUARE TO BE STAGED
The hemisphere works as a typology that can be imagined in many different places creating a similar experience. The concept is tested in a rich and urban dense environment, to prove the concept of suppressing the context. The case study was executed for the Schlosspark in Stuttgart. Laying in a relatively deep valley compared to other city centers the location is also surrounded by high buildings, from all of which the visitors are shielded.
On the other hand the shielding effect offers qualities which not only benefits as an observatory. Because of its abstract and simple geometry the typology can be seen as a public square to be staged in multiple kind of ways. As a public stage it acts as the new theatre lobby for the theatre and cultural district, being able to host different kinds of public acts.
WHO CAN IMAGINE WHAT PEOPLE WILL DO THERE AND WHAT DIFFERENT ACTS THIS PLACE WILL GIVE BIRTH TO?