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Creating a voyage of discovery through the star cloud in Chengdu

Creating a voyage of discovery through the star cloud in Chengdu


The Chengdu Science Fiction Museum, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), is slowly taking shape in China, offering the country a stunning new cultural destination. Currently under construction, it is due for completion later this year to host the 81st World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) and the 2023 Hugo Awards.

The new Chengdu Science Fiction Museum, by ZHA, is located on the shores of Jingrong Lake, in the new science and innovation city of Chengdu’s Pidu district. Integrating with the natural landscape, the design defines nodes of activity linked by pedestrian walkways, extending from the city and metro station through the surrounding park to the building. A discovery trail weaves between multi-level indoor and outdoor plazas, linking exhibition galleries, educational facilities, cafés and other amenities. The complex seems to float above the lake, combining programmatic and functional clarity, while responding to site conditions. Moreover, the fluid forms of its roof radiate from a central point, imitating an expanding nebula and transforming the building into a “cloud of stars”, dispersing energy fields throughout its various zones and guiding visitors. With a surface area of 59,000 m², it offers maximum flexibility for hosting exhibitions, conferences, events and galleries. It will also include a theater, conference room and ancillary spaces. In addition, the interior will feature a sky-lit central atrium with a large window overlooking Xiling Mountain. Meeting the highest 3-star standards of China’s green building program, the design is developed through detailed numerical modeling analysis to maximize the efficiency of composition, site conditions, solar irradiation and structure. For example, natural hybrid ventilation optimizes Chengdu’s mild subtropical climate to ensure year-round comfort for visitors and staff, while photovoltaic panels integrated into the large roof help meet the building’s energy needs. The dimensions of this roof are calculated to shade the glass façades in summer. Landscaped with local native plants, the building collects and stores rainwater for natural filtering and reuse, enabling Jingrong Lake to become an integral part of Chengdu’s sustainable drainage system that will alleviate flooding and increase biodiversity throughout the city.

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