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Located next to the historic Adler Planetarium, New Adler rises a mile above the city to host clear views of the night sky that were otherwise lost to light pollution.
The program is distributed between three tiers of museum space, making the full experience a voyage into the sky where an upward-facing observatory caps the building. As visitors ascend the various tiers, the Planetarium experience becomes a journey with a visual reward for those who venture the 5,820’ climb. The ground plane houses basic functions, such as standard gallery space, a gift shop and coat check. 1,760’ feet above, the first tier boasts sweeping views of the city. The dramatic 60’ foot ceilings play off the scale of the building itself and allows oversized installations to sit comfortably in the main gallery space. Tier 2 is the interactive level and is home to theatres and interactive domes. The ubiquitous dome has evolved into mini-planetarium pods in which guests can explore the universe with interactive projection. Finally, the third tier hosts a nearly light-less observatory where urban residents can see the stars in full effect.
The structure is a bundled steel tube system with a buttressed concrete core, in which the lifts and stairwells are located. The hollow nature of the exposed structure reduces wind vortex shedding and building sway. To further reinforce the structure, particularly near the top, a series of three mass dampers were used to offset strong winds. Formally, the building was designed to be triangular in nature due to the structural quality of the vertical truss system.
The new planetarium typology urges guests to engage more with the heavens, represented as a journey of climbing into the sky. The solution to allow urban dwellers to experience the stars is to be able to rise above heavy light pollution in the lower atmosphere at an elevation that boasts unobstructed views of our celestial neighbourhood.