Muzeiko Children’s Science Discovery Center

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Muzeiko Children's Science Discovery Center

Architects: SKOLNICK Architecture + Design Partnership
Area:  35,000 SF
Country: Bulgaria
Year: 2015
Photographs: Roland Halbe

Text description and images are provided by the architects.

Muzeiko Children’s Science Discovery Center, located in Bulgaria’s capital city of Sofia, is the first children’s museum to be built in post-Soviet Eastern Europe. Representing the culmination of SKOLNICK Architecture + Design Partnership’s decades of experience with museum and exhibition design, it is also the culmination of the firm’s collaboration with its client, the America for Bulgaria Foundation.

Organized conceptually as a journey moving through time and space, visitors can explore three levels of exhibits in the 35,000-square-foot (3,250 m2) LEED Gold facility. On the lowest level, children explore “The Past” through exhibits interpreting archaeology, geology and paleontology.

The ground floor is “The Present,” represented by hands-on exhibits about the natural environment and contemporary cities. The top floor is dedicated to “The Future” with interactive exhibitions exploring cutting-edge technologies and space travel. Interactivity also extends to the site, which includes a science playground, a green roof and rooftop climbing wall, a rain garden, outdoor activity space and an amphitheater.

The museum’s architectural theme, “Little Mountains,” is an allusion to Bulgaria’s mountainous topography. The structure’s glass volume is interrupted by three sculptural forms, or mountains, each referencing through its color scheme and texture indigenous craft traditions in the country.

One mountainous form features abstracted patterns inspired by textiles and embroidery, another by glazed ceramics, and the third by traditional wood carving. The museum utilizes large areas of glass to reveal the interior and creating the feeling of openness and transparency about the activity inside, in contrast with most Bulgarian museums that appear imposing and monumental.

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