Too often, ‘space’ is simply projected from a stationary geocentric perspective, with Earth at the center of The Universe; however, this two-dimensional view limits educational experience and effectiveness, and suppresses the imagination. To envision our orientation in the universe we remember, as Buckminster Fuller writes:
“We are all astronauts aboard a little spaceship called Earth.”
The Orrery Planetarium is a new typology of integrated space education architecture. Constantly changing with the movement of the gears, The Orrery Planetarium promotes exploration and discovery, extending beyond the Earth. As the program moves, it mimics celestial events, while also containing educational exhibits on topics such as Universal Sustainability, A History of Human Space Culture, Dark Matter and The Big Bang. Fluctuations in temperature, light levels, speed, and humidity throughout the facility help to create environmental variations abstractly analogous to those on various planets. Located atop the Great Mountain Range, the awe-inspiring scale and elevation of the site recall the powerful vastness of space, while the Infinite Sky Reflecting Pool mirrors the depth of the sky, and inspires a wonderful feeling of the unknown. Accessible by elevator, the Saturn Hotel and the Jupiter Space Laboratory orbit the Solar System Information Center on tracks supported by piles in the adjacent mountains, and provide lodging and space for furthering education through experimentation.
By reimagining the passive architecture of the modern day planetarium, The Orrery Planetarium provides educational atmospheres that extend beyond planet Earth and encourage travel from observation to discovery and experimentation, promoting an active learning experience and a vision beyond any single position in the universe.