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Science Centre, Glasgow

Part 2 Project 2001
Yu Kam Chan
University of Huddersfield Huddersfield UK
The Glasgow Science Centre (Hand-on Science) is situated in the Expo Science Park at Glasgow’s Pacific Quay. The master plan for this project is to increase activity and to link with the Science Centre and other buildings within the Science Park, using a bridge with a light-rail system and the New Govan Road to connect the main traffic from north to south and east to west respectively; and using an open square for visitors gathering and for private cars and tram cars to circulate throughout the park. The building design has integrated low-energy design into the ‘tectonic’ architecture. The main component of this building reflects a part of the human skeleton: skull (main entrance and sphere planetarium), thoracis vertebrae and rib (exhibition spaces). The main elements of green environment strategy for this building consists of natural daylight, natural ventilation and recycling of rainwater. The elevations and materials indicate a greater cohesion, with a clearer relationship between steel, precast concrete and glass, used in vertical and horizontal combination. This combination creates each individual piece of the building to be considered a piece of bone as a sculpture, and the use of glass reveals the visitor’s movement and provides daylight and views from outside waterfront. The ventilation tower has been designed to be actively rotated into the wind direction in order to control the internal climate. The main roof has the motorized louvres used to control the incoming natural lighting and reduce the heat loss during the winter. Rainwater is connected to basement storage and supplies sprinklers, thus contributing to the overall holistic sustainability of the building.
Yu Kam Chan


The Science Centre in Glasgow is designed to be an open and inviting building which through its architectural design presents to visitors an understanding of science and technology. The plan of the building draws upon biological metaphors with a head and body representing intelligence and mechanical parts. The section explores gravity bringing in the use of structure and building services a certain Newtonian Logic to bear. Air currents are directed through the building by pressure which is manipulated using renewable energy such as wind and sun, and the ambient energy of people and equipment.

The metaphors are intended to educate the public, using building shape to demonstrate the principles of physics, mechanics and thermal-dynamics. As a consequence technology is not hidden but demonstrated and celebrated as a life enhancing force.

2001
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