The New Planetarium serves as a space shuttle in outer space—providing a 360-degree experience of the stars. While in the original planetarium viewers were merely spectators—observing the stars from Earth, the New Planetarium allows viewers to be full participants in outer space as the stars will surround them on all sides. This will be accomplished through the planetarium’s structure and its interaction with projectors. The New Planetarium’s interior will be shaped like that of a space shuttle’s interior capsule with round sides, front, and back. Six projectors (two on each side, one in the front, and one in the back) will project constellations throughout the interior.
The New Planetarium’s volume reflects the phenomena of Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics. According to Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics a conservation of mass to fluid flow occurs in outer space with stars as it does with fluids and gasses in motion. Similar to fluids and gasses on earth, the fluid dynamics of galaxies move through the Planetarium’s volume (on all sides) as “a fluid flowing through a fixed volume tank having one inlet and one outlet” would (Wikipedia, Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics). In the case of the New Planetarium, there are two inlets, or doors, and one outlet, or door, which makes the space even more dynamic.
The building is situated on top of a hill with views of the landscape and cityscape below. Its round volume is suspended above ground with steel columns, beams, and diagonal bracing. The theater itself is accessed via escalators, on the large site seeing deck of the fourth level. In addition, the tallest volume of the fourth level also houses the telescope. The exit to the New Planetarium is on the opposite side through the third level, which opens onto a smaller deck. On the first and second level of the north side, there are exhibition spaces similar to the ones under the main theater volume. On the south side of the building, there are catwalks that allow the viewer to experience the New Planetarium from the outside. On the east and west side of the first level, there is a bookstore and a café respectively. The escalators, stairs, elevators and restrooms serve each of the four levels. And in turn each level contributes to the experience that is the New Planetarium—taking visitors on a 360-degree adventure of outer space.