Connecticut Center for Science and Exploration

Hartford, Connecticut, 2004

Surrounded by relatively tall commercial buildings, the Connecticut Center must assert itself. Its image evokes the sciences; its geometries are reminiscent of great astronomical instruments, challenging our curiosity. Two nacelles, shaped as segments of two great toroids, are perched side by side atop a podium. The structure of the nacelles is made of a laminated-wood lattice – a diagrid – that rotates about their surface in an ordered and repetitive geometry. Uniting the nacelles is a great roof platform in the shape of the surface of a partial sphere – an inverted dome. The geometries of each part intersect to create a cohesive and ordered whole. The Connecticut Center is organised into six levels, the first of which is the entry at the street. The second level is the podium, which features three floors of parking as well as offices and the museum’s back-of-the-house areas. The deck of the podium extends Hartford’s series of piazzas, which also connect to the river abutting the site – these are the city’s upper platform. The third and fourth levels of the Center, within the nacelles, are exhibition and theatre spaces; the fifth level, also within the nacelles, is the upper mezzanine; the top level is the sky garden.

Project Type: Museum

Client: Connecticut Center for Science and Exploration

Size: 160000

Collaborators

Associate Architect - Jeter, Cook and Jepson Architects