SCIENCE CITY

Location: Cairo, Egypt
Scope: Museum
Area: 111,500 sqm
Completion Date: Competition
Architect: Studio Seilern Architects
Landscape Architects: Spacehub
M&E and Structural Engineer: Ramboll
Exhibition consultant: Designmap
 
The concept has 4 main elements: the excavation; the sunken ‘waterproof box at 80m level; the ‘floating boxes’, the Science Park slab above; and the Canopy and Tower.

A ground-scraper volume on a single level, organised on a 50 x 50m module, punctuated by large open courtyards for natural light and ventilation at the core of the plan, giving complete flexibility for layouts and future expansion and optimal flexibility.

The site is to be excavated and the ‘waterproof box’ which will form the core of the Science City oer is located at 80m level, allowing the Science Park above it to occupy the whole site and negotiate all existing perimeter levels without the need for stairs or retaining walls. The site is fully accessible from all sides, and becomes a public amenity, a new civic space for the 6th of October City. As a challenge to the brief, access to the Science Park should be free, and only access to the Science City buildings and its exhibition spaces should be subject to an entry fee.

A strong connection between the exhibition halls, the collection departments, and the research areas is essential. A public awareness of the scientific history could only be strengthened by an exposure to its continued development and discoveries. The exhibition spaces and the collection storage areas are organised adjacent to each other for ease of movement of the collections. Rather than the traditional museum storage convention, where most of a permanent collection maybe hidden away in basements, this configuration allows the public to get a visual understanding of the size and the variety of the wider collection.

All exhibition and collection storage areas are on one level, serviced directly by two pools of loading docks, workshops and inventory rooms. A perimeter road circling the whole building allows ease of vehicular access and a services route to the different parts of the building.

The main access to the exhibition halls and research centre occurs from the south-western edge of the site. A coach drop-off and parking ramps welcome the visitors and lead them directly to a gentle ramp leading down from level 84 to level 80, to the main Orientation and Information Hall building. The long ramp and imposing Exhibition Hall building.

The Exhibition Hall is the largest building protruding above park level. At its centre, the planetarium sits as a sphere balanced in an unstable equilibrium. The skin of the planetarium is a media screen with interactive projections of the current exhibition themes.