Mad Architects, led by architect Ma Yansong, has unveiled plans for the Museum of Science and Technology to be built in Haikou, Hainan Province, China. Conceived as a meeting point between the lush rainforest and the city with its advanced technologies, it will be a scientific headquarters for the entire province as well as a must-see tourist attraction. It is scheduled to open in 2024.
Located on the west coast of Haikou, surrounded by sports stadiums and a national wetland park, this museum is MAD’s second major public project in Hainan after Cloudscape, a library to be completed in spring 2021. Its design is inspired by the site’s dual urban and natural context, where “a pristine rainforest and the technology of the future” meet. With this landscape as a backdrop, the main pavilion looks like a cloud in communication with nature. From a distance, the futuristic building seems to emerge from the city, while its visitors see it floating above the jungle. Its facade, made of fiber-reinforced plastic, makes the building distinctive from near and far, with a silver, reflective exterior and visionary aesthetic. Of the building’s 46,528 square meters, 27,782 square meters are reserved for above-ground facilities, including a planetarium, a permanent exhibition area, a giant screen theater, and another flying one. Its interior structure consists of three floor-to-ceiling cores, curved trusses, spiral ramps and a roof, all revealed to create harmony between the architectural forms and the structural system. A skylight in the dome bathes the spacious atrium in natural light, generating a bright and transparent environment, while a spiraling, sloping exhibition space rises from the central hall to the 5th floor, where the bulk of the exhibition is unleashed. Here, in fact, an elevator opens onto an infinite observation platform, surrounded on all sides by the sea and the urban landscape visible in the distance. While admiring this spectacular outdoor environment, visitors can explore the technology and space galleries at the same time before descending to the ocean and life sciences galleries on the fourth level. The math and science collections gather on the third level, while the multimedia interaction and children’s games collections are on the second. A gallery along the ramp extends the visual experience. Outside, an undulating canopy extends from the main pavilion in all directions, forming a shelter specifically designed to accommodate the public, given Haikou’s wet and rainy climate. The north side of this canopy houses a giant screen and a flying theater, while in the southwest corner are the planetarium and observatory. Outdoor public areas include a crater-shaped in-ground plaza and a reflecting pool. When completed, the Hainan Museum of Science and Technology will serve as a destination for the exploration of science, technology, and nature, drawing on both the urban and natural settings.