MUSE – Museo delle Scienze | RPBW – Renzo Piano Building Workshop Architects

Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop Architects, MUSE, (acronym of Museo delle Scienze – Science Museum) is the latest concept center for scientific culture diffusion. It will combine the traditional interest in natural history and research, common to all natural science institutions, with specific attention to ethical and social topics and to current issues, such as the environment and sustainable development. MUSE will be located in an area of Trento that used to host an industrial site and is now undergoing requalification.

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Along with the new Museum structure the area will host business and residential quarters, set in the heart of a large city park. At MUSE visitors, with their feelings and interests, will be the play the leading role. THE BUILDING The architectural project by the famous architect Renzo Piano is characterized by a refined, futuristic profile, a homage to the peaks of the mountains that surround Trento. Within the building, a vast covered square welcomes the visitor and divides the public section of the building from the part dedicated to the staff. The working spaces include offices, research laboratories, workshops, storage areas for scientific collections and for exhibitions, the library archives, and technical spaces. The public area is made up of exhibition spaces, small children’s area, conference hall, laboratories, educational labs, a tropical greenhouse, the library and a café.

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This all adds up to roughly 12,000 sqm. THE EXHIBITION The building designed by Renzo Piano is characterized by a vertical development that was inspired by the narrative thread of the permanent exhibition. The exhibition develops on 6 floors and occupies a surface of roughly 5,000 square meters. Of these, 2,700 sqm are dedicated to permanent exhibitions, 780 sqm to temporary exhibitions, 700 sqm to a tropical greenhouse, 100 sqm to a small children’s corner and 680 sqm to instant exhibitions and various cultural events.

The narrative thread underlying the permanent exhibition focuses on the diversity of natural environmental settings, with special attention to alpine ecosystems. Starting on the top floor with high peaks and extreme glaciers, and going right down below sea level in the basement, visitors make a journey through different settings and observe the changes that are caused by variations in altitude, by differences in habitat and their specific biodiversity. The relationship between science and society is developed along the horizontal axis of the building: the scientific description of glaciers (which risk extinction due to recent climate change) is a starting point that leads to consider renewable energy sources and energy-saving initiatives; the fossil footprints of dinosaurs and an extraordinary collection of Dolomite fossils leads us to explore the theory of evolution and notice how the presence of human beings has gradually modified life in the environments they have occupied.

The journey proceeds, with a set of experiments in comparative anatomy, genetics, and molecular biology, to DNA, biotechnology, and nanotechnology and to the technological and ethical challenges that these science innovations pose. The exhibition content and narrative threads are the result of the teamwork of the scientific staff of Museo Tridentino, in cooperation with the scientific research centres and cultural institutions of the Trentino province (Science Faculty and Engineering Faculty of Trento University; Bruno Kessler Foundation; Edmund Mach Foundation; Microsoft Centre) with the contribution of international experts in scientific museology and museography.

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Project Info:
Architects: Renzo Piano Building Workshop Architects
Location: Trento, Italy
Year: 2013
Work finished in: 2013
Client: Castello S.g.r.
Contractor: Colombo Costruzioni S.p.A. – Capogruppo A.T.I.
Photographs : Shunji Ishida, Alessandro Gadotti, Enrico Cano, Stefano Goldberg, Paolo Pelanda
Project Name: MUSE
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