The design of the Kaunas Science and Innovation Centre is based on the idea of the implementation of two fundamental factors of the physical environment. The physical environment highly focused on the knowledge of science and technology as the main bearer of human activity which comes into contact with the physical environment created by nature. Human experience and knowledge are in direct contact with the natural perfection.
We perceive this visual and architectural contact as an expression based on utmost harmony of both factors which are capable of not competing with one another but working together and creating future opportunities for themselves and their environment. On the one hand, the innovative building of a science centre taking over a landmark, a symbol of the specific area, preserving the character of a green island as a place for relaxation and recreation. This relationship is based on the intersection of both factors. A perfectly functioning building fitting into its context. A green hill merging into the building of the science centre.
Creating synergy of man with his environment, which cannot exits without one another. The science and innovation centre is located on the south side of the island, creating another landmark in the area. In terms of urban planning, the building completes the physical space of Nemunas Island, defined on one side by the existing Žalgiris Arena and on the other side by the building of the science and innovation centre. The buildings are connected through a green recreational park which serves as the most important part of the whole island, as well as the main communication between the buildings.
Knowledge and experience are based on observations of the surroundings. Knowledge may be discovered in our surroundings. The building of the Science and Innovation Centre is based on a congenial relationship between itself and its surroundings. This relationship is interpreted by a house which attempts to be seen where it should be seen and hidden where it should be hidden. For this reason, it has been designed towards the south bank and the park as a green hill complementing the island’s character.
On the contrary, towards the north bank and the city, the building opens through its glass façade which seeks a mutual dialogue with passers-by and the context. The hill split longitudinally and showing its interior. At the same time, the building is connected to the new communication axis leading from the north bank to the future building of the congress hall and the area with high development potential. The functional layout of the building is based on two approaches to working with space. The main area intended for the gallery opens to all sides, thus creating the unbounded flexible environment where maximum attention is paid to exhibits.
The opposite consists in the offices, laboratories and facilities, representing a functional and economical layout based on a clear spatial definition for maximum concentration. The main gallery is supplemented with the stage connected with exhibits and for 100 persons, which serves as a space for lectures about the exhibits exhibited, scientific lectures and screenings of all kinds, thus offering a wide range of cultural experiences. The main communication core consists in an envelope of the planetarium serving as a projection screen wrapped around with a staircase. We learn new information with every single step.
The planetarium is also visible from the main gallery, where it serves as the main projection exhibit for the exhibition dedicated to the earth and nature. The north glass façade allows daylight without direct sunlight and offers a panoramic view of the city. The settlement structure is based on scientific, technical and natural knowledge as a global example of this synergy. The building’s green roof serves as a continuation of the park and the recreational area of the island following the existing paths.
At the same time, it serves to capture rainwater used further in the building. The roof also serves as a shading and insulating element of the sunlit side, thus contributing to permanent environmental sustainability. The Science and Innovation Centre, as a building representing modern and dynamic architecture with an emphasis on sustainable development, maximum flexibility of inner spaces with active interiors and architectural symbiosis of the nature and man. Source by FARA-ON Union.
- Location: Kaunas, Lithuania
- Architects: FARA-ON Union
- Status: Competition Design
- Area: 10 400 sqm
- Year: 2016
- Images: Courtesy of FARA-ON Union
Article by Marco Rinaldi