History of Science Centre by Hoehler + alSalmy architecture firm debuts in Oman
The History of Science Centre, an exhibition and conference facility at the German University of Technology Oman (GUtech) in Muscat, designed by Hoehler + alSalmy architects, has been inaugurated recently. The building houses replicas of some of the earliest groundbreaking innovations from the Islamic world.
The building is divided into two sections: the external structure is a concrete latticework shell which envelopes the gallery area of the internal section, which is elevated on a platform. The winding staircase is another striking design feature which is meant to represent an architectural journey.
While the architects drew much of their inspiration from the premise of the building – scientific concepts from across the fields of geography, astronomy, maritime, mathematics and physics, there are evident influences of local culture. Modelled on a traditional Omani house, the core of the building is made of the same mud as old Omani forts. The mashrabiya is then laid over a wall of glass which covers the central structure.
The geometric pattern of the mashrabiya is inspired by the Qarawiyyin mosque in Fes, Morocco, dating back to AD857. The shell has a varied thickness, keeping in mind the summer heat, providing extra protection to the exposed parts of the building.