Science Island

PrizeWinner in Architectural Design / Institutional Architecture
Firm LocationLos Angeles, United States
CompanyXTEN Architecture

Science Island
Kaunas, Lithuania
The design of the National Science and
Innovation Center is driven by the desire to
create a building that is both contextual and
iconographic. The building speaks to its
natural and built surroundings, including
Nemanus island, Neman River, Naujamiestis just
to the north and the historic Old Town, while
at the same time asserting its presence as a
new icon emblematic of the progressive city
that Kaunas aspires to.
Inspired by the typology of the Mat-building,
the science museum is a 3-story 72.5m square
building, punctured by three primary voids: a
courtyard, a skylight and an atrium which
bring natural light to the interior of the
building. Separated vertically by its two
primary functions (public and private), the
museum creates a new type of open public space
that is both a part of the park and part of
the museum. Conceived as an extension of the
park, the plaza level contains the café,
museum shop, front of house spaces and ample
exterior exhibit space. The lower ground level
contains the planetarium and black box, along
with the research, staff and back of house
spaces. The temporary gallery, permanent
galleries and experimentorium are located in
the upper level.