Science Island grows out of the existing landscape, inviting the natural ecology and public space of Nemunas Island inside. The building is organized along a continuous interior topography, a single flexible surface that blurs the line between lobby, amenity, event, education, research, and exhibition space. At the lower level this public trajectory creates a generous new civic space for the city of Kaunas, a large amphitheater-like piazza that allows visitors to look out at both the Neman River and the Old Town beyond, to study, to engage in informal lectures, to share a lunch with a scientific researcher, to enjoy parts of the unticketed exhibitions, and to catch glimpses into the research laboratories and permanent exhibition spaces above.
Large operable pivot doors and high-performance transparent glass connect the interior and exterior, allowing for a seamless programming of exhibitions within the building and out in the surrounding gardens. Further up the public trajectory, the space folds back on itself and becomes more inward focused, creating a light and temperature controlled environment containing both the research laboratories and the temporary and permanent exhibition galleries. Along the public trajectory, the building curates framed views back to specific sites in the city and landscape, grounding the visitor’s experience of scientific theory in the living laboratory of Kaunas.
Our building doesn’t hide in the landscape, but instead engages with it, unapologetically announcing a new institutional presence in Kaunas. It is a building designed in the round, with each façade offering a unique response to the varying context around it.
SCIENCE ISLAND | CULTURAL | LITHUANIA | 2016 | UNBUILT