The museum is a major social and cultural project commissioned by the Shanghai Municipal Government and completed in 2001 by the Los Angeles and Shanghai offices of U.S. architectural firm RTKL of Baltimore, Maryland.
The museum is an important base in Shanghai for popular science education and is a major tourist attraction. It has five major halls focused on, respectively, Heaven, Earth, Life, Wisdom, Creativity and Future and covers a total construction space of 96,000 m2.
Vice president at RTKL’s Los Angeles office, Richard Yuan, said: “We specified laminated glass for the façade in order to fulfil Shanghai municipal building regulations regarding safety, and also because of the material’s ‘high tech’ aesthetics. The transparent PVB allows the central hall to be naturally lit while effecting significant cost savings in terms of energy (saving heating costs in winter and air conditioning costs in summer).”
A central hall of 70,000 m3 is located in the heart of the museum. This contains a huge glass globe, 20 metres in diameter, designed to symbolize creation and the universe. Inside the globe, mamenchisaurus dinosaur fossils juxtaposed with dancing robots provide an eye-catching attraction for adults and children alike. The laminated glass for the central hall’s façade was made by China Southern Glass Holding Co. Ltd., also incorporating Butacite®.