The Universeum is located on a steep slope adjacent to an amusement park on the fringe of Göteborg City Center.
The design brief called for a Science Center with an aquarium and a rain forest as an integral part of the learning process. The Universeum’s mission is to stimulate young people’s thirst for knowledge and encourage them to get actively involved in science and technology.
The main materials are wood, glass and concrete; all chosen with future recycling in mind. The building is to act as a model of good environmental practice in every possible way; its energy consumption is low and the energy used in its day-to-day running is, as far as possible, to be harnessed in the building itself.
The entrance building is a modern barn, “the wooden ship”, with free spanning glulam beams providing an uninterrupted floor plate of 800 square meters with a free height of 4 meters and 1 meter installation zone. It is a highly flexible space where most of the hands on experiments of the science center are located.
The exterior perimeter of “the Wooden Ship” is an opaque glass skin admitting daylight while taking away some of the heat load. The cavity between the glass and the thermal wall is used for incoming air which in summertime will be misted to lower the temperature to 4 degrees centigrade. The “Big Glass Structure” will provide openings on the leeward side of generally occurring winds and is designed with 70 square meter of sun chimney providing extra draft.
The building is accessed mainly from the north where the two projecting exhibition levels of the wooden ship provides expressionistic shape allowing glimpses into the dynamics of the hands on experiments, the children, while allowing the building a certain dynamic implying the ascent of the mountain which is hidden from direct view.
The vertical joints of the opaque glass screen are covered with wooden frames making the building appear all wood from the main approach.The other parts of the building are less visually important since they merge with the landscape.