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Interactive Science Park at Kharghar

Part 2 Project 1999
Mahdieh Bigdeli Soltani
Munis Oomatia
University of Mumbai Mumbai India

Today we see around us are the rewards of Science and Technology. We are living in a age of stunning changes in economic, philosophical, technological, social, environmental, human self knowledge as well as our understanding of the vast universe. Man has always posed fundamental questions like the origin of life, life on our planet, the beginning of the earth, the possibility of life as well as the question of the ultimate destiny of the universe. Above all this science has helped him to become a rational thinker.
However we in our everyday life use many scientific applications without understanding the principles of science behind them. It is the most important for us today to develop an attitude of curiosity to learn about ourselves and the world we live in with a positive questioning attitude. The positive questioning attitude helps in empowering us with a rational mind. A rational mind now starts questioning all things that are baseless. What is therefore needed is a medium that can help common man to understand the fundamentals of science. If one tries to initiate this it would be a great leap towards inducing a scientific temper in the population.
The medium being an Interactive Science Park which becomes a fun place of casual and informal learning. The science park will have two winged channel of exhibits and activities. The exhibits ranging from subjects such as physical, natural, Social Science, Energy, Environment, industrial. The built form of the building would help in creating an ambience in which every visitor absorbs maximum as it has been medically proved that an average man can absorb only *20,000 sq.ft. of detailed man-made exhibits before his mind refuses to function. Thus this allows to break up all exhibit areas into smaller units of approximate 20,000 sq. ft. to let the visitor to bring him into "adjustment places" to confront the outside nature as we cannot dissociate science and technology from nature.

Design Process

The above is resolved by applying a grid to a irregular site on the hills of Kharghar. The grid being developed by breaking down the halls of 16.8 X 16.8 Mts. into a grid of 2.8 Mts. The circulation patterns
giving rise to more permutations thereby not making the movement through the halls boring. The movement from one hall to the other is broken through transition spaces (Breathing Spaces for the mind) of the veranda and viewing corridors. The Sky theatre at the highest point on the site has all the halls around it moving down the slope. The experience terminating in a nature trail around the site. The common veranda allows everyone to move to go to the halls of there liking and are not forcefully pass through the other halls.
(*Quotes from The Canadian Architect-September 1969 Pg. No.39)

Mahdieh Bigdeli Soltani
Munis Oomatia


India, even after 52 years of its independence, continues to suffer from backwardness and uneven development. One of the main reasons of the backwardness is lack of scientific temper. The feudal system promoted irrational practices which continue to dominate vast areas of the country. The uneven pattern of development leads to migration from the hinterland urban areas.

The proposal for a science park aims at promoting rational thinking among the citizens in general and the new migrants and children in particular. The design thesis programme reflects the students concern for the future of the people of his country. The thesis brief includes a whole set of facilities such as observatory, exhibition halls, auditorium and halls for interactive learning. The campus provides a stimulating ambience for such interactions.

In order to achieve this the student has design a place full of activities and fun, providing a stimulating experience through exhibitions and interactive spaces. The architecture of the park reflects the spirit of innovation, often found missing in contemporary architectural practice in India.

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