In the middle of the Olympic Park, two truncated aluminum cones point to heaven, such as two telescopes peering into the universe. These two cones that contain two spherical theatres are the central elements of the new Planetarium of Montreal, which opened its doors to the media Wednesday while it was the moving of the equipment. Respecting the costs and deadlines, the new building, designed according to the rules of sustainable development will be inaugurated on April 6.
Those who knew the Dow planetarium, this building of classic that immediately plunged us into the darkness, will be completely disoriented in the new planetarium of Rio Tinto Alcan, whose interior spaces are flooded with natural light and offer views on the Biodôme and the Olympic Stadium. Slats of wood covering the hull of one of the two spherical theatres and the tiles in natural aluminium lining the envelope of the other warm the atmosphere and contribute to “reconnect the human-to-nature”, says Charles-Mathieu Brunelle, Executive Director of space for life, this complex that brings together on one site the Biodome, Insectarium, botanical garden and, now, the Planetarium.
Equipped state-of the-art projection, the new Planetarium will be nevertheless unique in its kind, as it will allow to understand the secrets of the universe in its scientific aspect, but also artistic and poetic perspective. In one of the two theatres, hundreds of spectators lying on the ground will attend a “metaphorical” multimedia show, intended to cause strong emotions. The renowned Montreal tandem of Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon has prepared the first show to be presented at the opening of the Planetarium.
The second theatre, with 196 seats tilted, will offer a more classical astronomical show using a global – opto-mechanical device similar to one that was at the center of the Dow Planetarium that projects a starry sky – on the vault and a digital system, a novelty “that will leave the Earth’s surface and travel virtually to the center of the Galaxy or a cluster of starsfor example”, explains Pierre Lacombe, Director of the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. “The new global, which is much more compact than the old allows simulations of much better quality. It allows to see objects that it is difficult to see with the naked eye. But what sets apart us from other planetariums in the world, is the presence of a facilitator-astronomer who transmits his passion to the visitor. »
Between the two theatres, a room will be devoted to an exhibition on the traces of life in the universe. Kiosks, multimedia games, projections and a collection of meteorites to understand Astrobiology, a rapidly emerging science.
The entire building was designed by Cardin Ramirez Julien architects, a Montreal firm whose project was selected amongst 60 other proposals at an international competition. As the design that the construction met the environmental standards of the level Platinum LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). In particular, the building includes much vegetated roof and bathrooms are fitted with a carbon dioxide sensor that triggers the addition of fresh air required. The new planetarium is named to the $ 3.8 million that the giant aluminum, Rio Tinto Alcan, has given for its realization, which will cost a total 48 million, as expected.
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