Ian Ritchie Architects

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Hawking Space Time Centre

Hawking Space Time Centre. Etching by Ian RitchieWe were commissioned in 1999 by Warwick Charlton of Spacetime Centre Ltd. to develop the architectural concept for his and Stephen Hawking’s Spacetime Centre.
The Centre has the endorsement and participation of Professor Stephen Hawking, whose bestselling book ‘A Brief History of Time’ inspired the idea.
Upon entering the Spacetime Centre, and before the visitor begins to freely explore the universe through the seven Spacetime ships, they will encounter audiomedronic figures of Hawking, Galileo, Newton and Einstein, each of whom will introduce their own astronomical concepts.
The architectural concept is based upon a number of spheres and hemispheres below, upon and above a ground plane. These house immersive theatres whose historical, contemporary and future astronomical performances will be specifically created by a state of the art combination of computer simulation and multi-media techniques.
The spatial relationship between the theatres is expressed physically by a distorted woven metal fabric, tensioned between the upper sphere and the building’s perimeter; and by the undulating ground landscape. The fabric surfaces can be experienced from below and above and by means of both subtle and dramatic lighting, the atmosphere within the Spacetime Centre will be dynamic. The roof is made of an opaque fabric.
In 1987, Ian Ritchie Architects invented the idea of the Spheriscope – a theatre providing a full 360° spherical experience, with spectators ‘floating’ on a glass floor in the middle of a 30m (100ft) diameter sphere, while watching co-ordinated images being projected in vector fields onto upper and lower hemispherical surfaces.  These combine to produce a total illusion of moving through space. This idea has been developed and included as the uppermost theatre.
Supporting accommodation will include space arcades, restaurants, exhibition areas, interactive space-studios and shops.