Aimed primarily at children and adolescents, Universeum is Sweden’s national science discovery centre, opened in the Korsvägen in Gothenburg city centre.
In the 10,000 m² building, visitors walk through temperate and tropical biotopes and various ecosystems. Visitors follow the water cycle from precipitation in the mountains along the rivers and streams to fresh and salt water aquariums.
From arctic forests to tropical forests
The site slopes steeply. The entrance, located 26 metres above street level, is the starting point for a 3-kilometre stroll through mountain lake, arctic forest and island landscapes to the pond containing wild plants and animals from the west coast of Sweden. The visitor descends a further 3 metres to reach the lake representing the Atlantic, with manta rays and mangroves. A steep descent follows, down stairs and ramps, through the tropical forest to the bottom of the wooden nave. This area is reserved for temporary exhibitions.
Glass, light, flora and fauna
The complex project drew attention to the necessity of exhibiting the aquaria, fauna and flora under daylight. The architects therefore designed large glazed façades fitted with Pilkington insulating glass units: the outer pane is Pilkington Suncool™ 66/33 and the inner pane of Pilkington Optifloat™ Clear. The aim is to ensure protection from the sun’s radiation and heat insulation while providing excellent light transmission.
While the floor constantly varies to hug the terrain, the roofing with its wooden structures unifies the whole and imparts coherence. A glass roof covers the tropical forest, which covers most of the flank of the hill.
The double glazing used consists of Pilkington Optitherm™ on the outer pane and Pilkington Optilam™ laminated glass as the inner pane. This combination considerably reduces heat loss.
Photography: © Åke E:son Lindman