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Zaha Hadid gallery dedicated to mathematics opens with plane-inspired design

Opening tomorrow at London’s Science Museum

Interior shot of gallery with hanging aircraft and large curving ribbons floating above exhibition space.
The central structure was inspired by airflow equations used in the aviation industry.
Photography by Luke Hayes courtesy of ZHA

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has unveiled photos of Mathematics: The Winton Gallery, a new space opening tomorrow that showcases the role of mathematics in history and everyday living in London’s Science Museum. The first permanent public museum exhibition designed by ZHA in the world, it is also the first project to open in the United Kingdom since Zaha Hadid’s death earlier this year.

At its center is the Handley Page “Gugnunc” airplane, which was built in 1929 for a competition to create a safe aircraft. Its experimental wing design helped shift public opinion on the safety of flying and ushered in a new era of commercial passenger aviation.

The airplane also inspired ZHA’s design of the space, which incorporates airflow equations in the swooping translucent screens that wind through the gallery and the arrangement of displays and seatings.

Bringing together over 100 artifacts from the Science Museum’s extensive collections on technology, engineering, science, and, of course, mathematics, the Winton Gallery strives to illustrate the ways in which math affects not only practical matters, but also human concerns including war, peace, life, death, and beauty. According to curator Dr. David Rooney:

At its heart this gallery reveals a rich cultural story of human endeavor that has helped transform the world over the last four hundred years. Mathematical practice underpins so many aspects of our lives and work, and we hope that bringing together these remarkable stories, people and exhibits will inspire visitors to think about the role of mathematics in a new light.