Public Building

Inspired from the past, advancing towards the future; the Planetarium is a project standing on the iconic Kailasagiri hills situated in Vishakhapatnam city where the VMRDA has envisioned this monument as one for lifelong learning, adding to the city’s rich heritage and architecture.
Status – Ongoing | Team – Seeja Sudhakaran, Khushbu Davda, Deepshikha Apte, Prakash Rajan

While designing a Futuristic Planetarium, the study and research of Black Holes intrigued us due to their unpredictable nature in space. Our concept revolved around the abstract form of black hole by using the recently caught image of the Black Hole by NASA. The fascinating and captivating visual of a Black Hole fits perfectly well with our ideologies of a futuristic Planetarium. The body of a Black Hole looks like a glowing doughnut of matter surrounding an abyss of Blackness; the dust and gas orbiting the black hole’s point of no return. 

Black hole being an optimized geometrical form in itself inspired us to study and apply construction strategies that are found in nature and space. This concept allowed us to introduce Biomimetic Architecture, a multi-disciplinary scientific approach to sustainable design that goes beyond using nature as inspiration for aesthetics but rather applying design principles that are found in natural environments and species. Biomimicry is a new science that studies nature’s models and then emulates these forms, processes, systems, and design strategies for the future betterment.

Considering that the location of Planetarium falls under Cyclone Prone Zone, we were able to optimize the geometry in such a way that its aerodynamics properties visually describe how well it can withstand the storm. The design was moulded after studying advanced wind and daylight analysis to create the best possible design solution which responds well to a sensitive environment. Openings have been strategically placed on the outer ring of the structure at a good height such that these become conduits for air movement and reduce stresses on the structure, also mimicking the “Ring of Black hole”. 

The design mainly consists of four major structural parts amalgamated together, the external ramp connecting the entrance, the outer ring, the inner ring and the dome. The dome of the Planetarium replicates the glowing doughnut shape of the black hole, which will also be lit by led panelling on the exterior surface to visually highlight the concept of black hole. The outer ring which varies in height replicates the the dust and gas orbiting the black hole’s point of no return.

As one walks through the ramp, we enter the upper level of the Planetarium Inner ring, which also has access to the outer exhibition ring and the planetarium dome. As we move down towards the lower level, ancillary spaces like the cafeteria, exhibition spaces, Admin and office spaces, astronomy club, library are designed keeping in mind the circulation patterns, proximities and easier accessibility to spaces.

The design and architectural thought process behind this project signifies use of advanced technologies of design, material and construction which responds to the concept of Biomimicry which respects and corelates to the eco sensitive nature of Kailasagiri Hills. Hence the geometry of Planetarium Dome in the center not just depicts the Black hole visually, but also optimizes the geometry since geodesic dome roofs or buildings have low drag coefficients and can withstand higher wind forces than a square building of the same area.