The site is located in an abandoned quarry in Rockridge, Oakland, and I intend to explore a poetic alternative to the current careless abandonment of quarries. The project incorporates a Planetarium and a meteorite exploratorium, celebrating the timeless quality of the universe, while relinks surrounding urban fabric that is currently disconnected.
The project has three layers. The first one is an urban walkway which links the surrounding neighborhood, cemetery and shopping center together. It forms a plaza with the existing fabric while also acts as a buffer zone, offering a smooth transition between the artificial and nature. The second layer is a ring sitting almost on the water level, carving into the quarry and functioning as a liner gallery space. People can visit the Exploratorium while enjoying the rich scenic environment the lagoon provides. The gallery is organized according to Astrological periods and forms a cycle, from millions of years ago predating human existence to millions of years after. Thereby, the path becomes a trajectory across history. The last layer is an enclosed static space, which I call the space of meteorite. Every single meteorite sits silently on their platform, illuminated by a skylight above. The skylights shoot through the roof into the light and become a waving landscape coming in and out of the water, resembling Oakland’s topographical condition. The array of light tubes and stones create a homogeneous and monumental space, which celebrates the timelessness quality of the universe. There are 4 large and 4 small planetariums clearances in the meteorite forest. Each of them points towards a specific planet in the solar system. By being oriented towards the current position of the stars, the planetariums freeze a moment of time in history and preserve as its own memory. People gathering around the planetariums and look at the stars, as they did thousands year ago in the open space in the woods. But not looking up into the sky, they look down into the earth instead. In the center of the room, light shines through the oculus. There, the Earth, Sky, and Water meet with each other. Nature is delicately presented in an artificial building.
The project’s primary geometry in plan resembles the orbiting of the planets and the order of the universe, echoing the theme of timelessness. In the section, the geometry is deconstructed in order to fit the local geological condition and celebrate the fact of the transient of the building itself.
This project accepts the constructed nature and it humbly submerges its monumentality underneath the water, only giving a few hints by the popping out skylights. It quietly waits underneath the surface like a hidden meteorite dropped from the sky, for the visitors to come through the cycle and explore the deep sensation in the heart intrigued by the light and space and the timelessness of the universe.