The Connecticut Science Center embodies the excitement and wonder of science through an iconic form. Conceived as an educational anchor for Adrien’s Landing, an economic development initiative, it is part of the largest redevelopment project in Hartford since the 1970s. The Science Center creates a sense of place where “no place” previously existed. Previously a large surface parking lot adjacent to I-91, the Science Center illustrates public architecture’s potential to be able to create a new piece of the city.
"Pelli’s building has redefined the Hartford skyline in a contemporary, complimentary, inspiring and appropriate way, and it continues to serve the Science Center’s functional purposes very well, 10 years since it opened."
Shaping a new gateway to downtown Hartford
The building is both exciting and highly functional, while providing a bold image that allows it to serve as a gateway to Downtown Hartford. The project consists of a large podium garage that links with the Convention Center via an elevated Plaza to the Connecticut River. The design embodies the excitement and innovation associated with the Science and Technology displayed within. The form consists of three key elements: a striking parallelogram tower; a terraced volume with unique cantilevered design; and Science Alley, a narrow six-story space with an iconic S-shaped "magic carpet" roof. The forms are exciting, luminous and inviting volumes that are transparent enough to reveal the activity within the center, visible from the highway, street, and downtown.
Grand and sweeping arrival
Visitors enter the Science Center at street level on the west side and immediately ascend a generous staircase into Science Alley, a grand hall crisscrossed by pedestrian bridges. This striking space serves as a central circulation point from which visitors can discover all the museum’s exhibitions and attractions. With its soaring, east-facing glass wall, the space draws visitors out to a landscaped plaza on the Connecticut River. To the south of Science Alley, exhibition areas are contained within the parallelogram-shaped tower, whose east wall tilts toward the river, creating a large observation deck.
Sustainable strategies at the forefront
The building uses multiple strategies to achieve its LEED Gold rating: energy saving mechanisms, locally manufactured building materials, recycled content building materials including 95 percent of the steel from recycled cars, the use of high-performance glazing on the exterior envelope, and a fuel cell that generates energy on site are some of the features that contribute to the sustainability concept of the Center.
More About the Project
- Cesar Pelli, FAIA, JIA, RIBA
- Mariko Masuoka, FAIA, LEED AP ↗
- Martina Lind
- Structural Engineer: Schlaich Bergermann and Partner
- MEP: Altieri Sebor Wieber
- Location: Hartford, Connecticut, USA
- Client: Connecticut Science Center
- Size: 160,000 sq. ft. / 14,900 sq. m.
- Completion: 2009
- Certification: LEED Gold
- Firm Role: Full Service Architect
- Principal Project Photography: Jeff Goldberg/ESTO