Wilkinson Eyre Architects
the RIBA Stirling
Prize for Architecture 2001, the Magna Science Centre is a dynamic
gallery and lounge space suspended and housed within the structure of a
historic steel mill.
This sculptural object, the air exhibit, seemingly floats inside the lofty, multi-story space, creating an atmosphere ideal for its digital displays and exhibitions.
Integral to the airship concept, the Texlon enclosure system allows for warped planes. The airship is over 36m long, with a diameter of approximately 11m. Its eight enclosure cushions were inserted into 42m long longitudinal frames, slightly bent in two directions. These longitudinal frames were then suspended from the existing structure with a complex bi-directional stainless steel cable system. The Texlon system is an ideal material for cladding warped surfaces, as it is able to absorb significant amounts of movement during installation and induced structural movement.
In this airship pavilion, white Texlon ETFE foil was used to provide a screen for the interior space. The white Texlon ETFE gives a very comfortable diffused light, due to its high reflectivity and complete delivery of stray light.