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Chengdu Science Fiction

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) have opened their latest project in China, The Chengdu Science Fiction Museum, and it’s a sight to behold! Situated on Jingrong Lake within the Science & Innovation New City of Chengdu’s Pidu District, this 59,458 square meter structure is a testament to Chengdu’s rich history of science fiction writing. 

The Chengdu Science Fiction Museum exemplifies architectural innovation. Designed to save resources while ensuring visitor comfort, it seamlessly combines sustainability with an immersive experience. The Museum opened by hosting World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) and Hugo Awards.

Design of the Chengdu Science Fiction Museum

With this project, ZHA has brought a unique design to a unique location. The museum appears to float above the lake and seamlessly integrates with the natural lakeside landscape. It features a roof that looks like an expanding nebula cloud, forming a ‘star cloud’ effect at its core. This design serves as a portal, connecting visitors between reality and imagination.

The Chengdu Science Fiction Museum is designed to host exhibitions, conferences, and events. It includes exhibition galleries, a theatre, a conference hall, and supporting ancillary spaces. A sky-lit central atrium and a large window facing the spectacular Xiling Mountain establish a connection between the museum’s interiors and its breathtaking natural surroundings.

Various pathways lead visitors into the building, connecting it to the city, metro station, and surrounding parkland. This design creates a journey through indoor and outdoor spaces, connecting galleries, educational facilities, cafes, and more.

Sustainability Impact of the Museum

The Chengdu Science Fiction Museum is designed to achieve China’s highest 3-star Green Building standards. Detailed digital modeling was used to optimize the building’s composition, site conditions, and energy efficiency. Photovoltaic elements on the roof generate energy and meet the museum’s energy demands, and natural ventilation further ensures comfort for visitors and staff year-round in Chengdu’s mild subtropical climate. 

The design incorporates local native plants into the landscaping, creating a park, or a natural system that is used for gathering and storing rainwater. The collected rainwater undergoes a natural filtration and is then reused. This approach makes Jingrong Lake an essential component of Chengdu’s drainage system, helping to reduce the risk of flooding and promoting greater biodiversity in the city. In essence, it’s a way to manage rainwater in an eco-friendly manner, benefitting both the environment and the local community. The roof’s dimensions are designed to provide shade during summer.

Blurring the Lines Between Fiction and Reality

The Chengdu Science Fiction Museum serves as a tangible testament to how the extraordinary visions of science fiction are converging with reality through the latest advancements in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry. In China, ZHA has a notable track record, with multiple projects including Daxia Tower in Xi’an district and West First Bridge in Chengdu. With every innovative structure that emerges, we witness the blurring of boundaries between fiction and reality.

As the AEC industry pioneers new materials, techniques, and concepts, we can look forward to structures that not only astound with their form and function but also contribute to a more sustainable, interconnected, and imaginative world. With the bridge between science fiction and reality ever widening, we embark on a journey where the boundaries of what’s possible are continually redefined, where the extraordinary becomes the norm, and where our built environments are transformed into visionary landscapes straight out of our most cherished sci-fi dreams.

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