Space has always intrigued people and has been inspiration for faith. Thus, when speaking about the Universe it is inevitable to visualise it only through the human mind. All we know about outer space is knowledge based on the history, the experience and the nature of the humankind. That is why the general concept of our project relies on the human itself and on his perception of the Universe.
We believe that a planetarium should always be in collaboration with a research centre (we call it a knowledge generator) where science and art intersect in order to create a full interactive experience based on the latest scientific discoveries. Now digital technologies are absolute necessity in architecture and design. Our aim is to create architecture that is not only a shell for certain program, but a tool. A building that is a reference object for augmented reality apps and devices as well as physical space (grid) for virtual reality experience. The site we chose is the Botanical Garden in Sofia, Bulgaria, located at the base of Vitosha mountain. Choosing this location makes unobscured views towards the building possible. We use the whole park to create grid for virtual reality mapping.
Two separate ways are taken (one for a planetarium and one for a research centre) so that they intersect at the final image of the project.
People visualise the Universe as a mix of energy (light) and matter. Since Ancient Greece the Universe has been seen as a system of order which they called cosmos. As such all the forces within it act under strict laws. Our civilization still can’t reach the borders of the space, which undoubtedly speaks about its scale. In popular culture the space-time continuum is presented as a mesh which is being deformed by space objects. Combining these statements, we visualise the planetarium as a strict grid of wireframe volumes which together create a mass of solids and voids. Its massive volume stands firm, totally contrasting from the park nature. We use the spherical form of the classical planetarium as a hanging hall above the planetarium foyer. It is the feeling you receive, entering the planetarium, that gives an end to the whole experience.
People have always lived in close relation to their surrounding environment. Nature is a challenge for us and made us evolve to adaptive creatures. Possessing that flexibility, human can now form its own living environment with nature being his/her restrain. Those principles lie in the concept of the research centre. Built underground it is a total contrast to the planetarium. Its free form derives from surrounding all the trees at site.
Planetarium’s building elements (particles) are being dissolved across the park, where they create the virtual reality map grid. They are also “lanterns” on the roof of the research centre. Those building particles leave the ground of the park and populate certain places in the city, where they are reference objects for augmented reality. Through augmented reality apps people receive interactive content in the city.