Zaha Hadid Architects Unveils Chengdu Science Fiction Museum With Fluid, Radiated-Form Roof

Zaha Hadid Architects has unveiled design for Chengdu Science Fiction Museum with fluid and radiated-form roof in the city of Chengdu, China.

ZHA’s Chengdu Science Fiction Museum, which is currently under construction, will be home to the 81st annual World Science Fiction Convention, called Worldcon, and the Hugo Awards later this year. Worldcon, established in 1939, is the world’s largest science fiction event and will be held under a star-shaped building. The new Chengdu Science Fiction Museum, encompassing a total of 59,000-square-metre area, is set to be built with maximum flexibility to host the widest variety of exhibitions, conferences and events.

The museum will also include exhibition galleries, theatre, conference hall, and supporting ancillary spaces. The city of Chengdu is known as “a leading incubator of science fiction writing in China.”  Referencing to past, present and future, the new museum is set to become a vibrant center of innovation and gathering place for the city. Surrounded by mountain ranges and forests, Chengdu cultivated a unique local culture rooted in its rich history that includes the mystical visions and extraterrestrial forms within the carvings and masks of the Bronze Age Sanxingdui civilization.

The capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China, Chengdu has grown to a city of over 20 million residents and become important global center of scientific innovation and research. ZHA’s Chengdu Science Fiction Museum is situated on Jingrong Lake within the Science & Innovation New City of Chengdu’s Pidu District.  The design takes cues from the natural landscapes along the lakeshore and is informed by the nodes of activity connected by pedestrian routes that extend from the city and adjacent metro station through the surrounding parkland into the heart of the building.

Through its multiple levels, the museum creates a journey of discovery that weaves between indoor and outdoor plazas to link the museum’s exhibition galleries, educational facilities, cafes and other amenities. The museum merges all program elements with functional clarity while responding to its unique site conditions. Due to its dynamic surfaces and surprising façades, the museum appears to float above from the surface of the lake. “The fluid forms of its roof radiate from a central point within, emulating an expanding nebula cloud with a star at its center – transforming the museum into a ‘star cloud’ that disperses energy fields into its many different zones; guiding visitors through a portal that connects our lived experience with our imagination,” said Zaha Hadid Architects.

At the center, a sky-lit central atrium and it’s large window faces the spectacular Xiling Mountain to connect the museum’s interiors with their surrounding environment. Meeting the highest 3 Star standards of China’s Green Building Program, the studio developed the scheme by using detailed digital modelling analysis to maximize efficiencies in composition, site conditions, solar irradiation and structure.  The studio used natural hybrid ventilation that optimizes Chengdu’s mild subtropical climate to provide comfort for visitors and staff throughout the year.

To meet the building’s energy demands, photovoltaic panels will be embedded within the museum’s large roof canopy. In addition, ZHA calculated the dimensions of this roof to shade the glazed facades in summer.

“Landscaped with plants native to the region, the design collects and stores rainwater for natural filtration and reuse, enabling Jingrong Lake to become an integral part of Chengdu’s sustainable drainage system that will mitigate flooding and increase biodiversity throughout the city,” said ZHA. Established in 1939, the annual convention is the world’s largest science fiction event.  Named after Hugo Gernsback, founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine ‘Amazing Stories’, the Hugo Awards have been presented at Worldcon by the World Science Fiction Association since 1955 and are the highest recognition for science fiction and fantasy literature, as well as work in other media.


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