CERN Science Gateway by Renzo Piano Building Workshop


CERN is launching the Science Gateway, a new scientific education and outreach centre targeting the general public of all ages. The building will be designed by world-renowned Renzo Piano Building Workshop, architects. The project will be funded through donations, with the leading contribution coming from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Construction is planned to start in 2020 and to be completed in 2022.

With a footprint of 7000 square meters, the iconic Science Gateway building will offer a variety of spaces and activities, including exhibitions explaining the secrets of nature, from the very small (elementary particles) to the very large (the structure and evolution of the universe). The exhibitions will also feature CERN’s accelerators, experiments and computing, how scientists use them in their exploration and how CERN technologies benefit society. Hands-on experimentation will be a key ingredient in the Science Gateway’s educational programme, allowing visitors to get first-hand experience of what it’s like to be a scientist.

The main goal will be to transmit concepts of science and technology in an engaging way, in order to encourage students to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Students will be involved in hands-on educational modules and experiments in physics. Special kits will be delivered to classes, containing all necessary materials and instructions to run modules throughout the school year. As a follow-up, classes will be invited to take part in a contest, with the winners awarded a 2-3 day visit to the Science Gateway and CERN. After an initial period of experimentation, mainly in Italy, this programme will be extended to all CERN Member States.

The Science Gateway will be hosted in a new iconic building on CERN’s Meyrin site adjacent to another of CERN’s iconic buildings, the Globe of Science and Innovation. The Science Gateway’s design is inspired by the distributed nature of the CERN site and buildings so it is made up of five interconnected buildings spanning the main road leading to Geneva. “Kids, students, adults, teachers and scientists, everybody attracted by the exploration of the Universe. From the infinitely vast to the infinitely small. It is a bridge, both in metaphorical and in real sense, and a building fed by the energy of the sun. Landed in the middle of a newly grown forest” says Renzo Piano.

Also inspired by CERN’s unique facilities, such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle accelerator, the architecture of the Science Gateway celebrates the inventiveness and creativity that characterise the world of research and engineering. Architectural elements such as tubes that seem to be suspended in space evoke the cutting-edge technology underpinning the most advanced research that is pushing back our understanding of the origins of the universe. A bridge over the Route de Meyrin will dominate the brand-new Esplanade des Particules and symbolise the inseparable link between science and society. Source by Renzo Piano Building Workshop.

  • Location: Geneva, Switzerland
  • Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop
  • Design team: A.Belvedere, L.Piazza (partner and associate in charge)
  • Collaboration: Brodbeck Roulet Architectes Associés
  • Structure: Arup / EDMS
  • Sustainability: Transsolar
  • MEP: SRG
  • Acoustics: Müller BBM
  • Façades: Emmer Pfenninger
  • A/V, Heater equipment: Changement à vue
  • Lighting: Arup
  • Fire prevention: Charpente Concept
  • Landscaping: Atelier Descombes Rampini
  • Client: CERN
  • Year: 2019
  • Images: Courtesy of Renzo Piano Building Workshop

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