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New Shanghai Planetarium Designs Are Appropriately Otherworldly

Ennead Architects has unveiled its design for the new Shanghai Planetarium, and it's one shimmery, spiraling giant that may or may not have been inspired by a snail shell. The new branch of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, set to open to the public in 2018, will be divided into three sections, each representing an astronomical instrument—an Oculus, a Sphere, and an Inverted Dome.

Visitors can attempt to tell time the old school way, with a sundial that follows the sun's orbital movement. "The Chinese are very tuned in to the movement of the sun," Ennead Design Partner Thomas Wong told the Architect's Newspaper, also noting that China still functions on a lunar calendar. It's all that attention on celestial bodies that inspired Wong to design a building that literally looks like it's in orbit.

The Oculus is suspended from the galleries above, the Sphere holds the theater, and the Inverted Dome has a sky dome, providing galactic views framed via 79-feet-high solar telescopes. Wong said the museum hopes to "get kids especially excited about exploring space." A glowing silver dome for gazing into the cosmos just might do the trick.

· Unveiled > Shanghai Planetarium [Architect's Newspaper]
· Eight Times Planetarium Design Was Straight-Up Otherworldly [Curbed National]