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London | Mathematics gallery at the Science museum – Zaha Hadid Architects

Place: London, Country: United Kingdom
Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)
Design: Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher
Lighting: Arup Lighting
Main contractor: Paragon
Text by Riccardo Bianchini
Photos © Luke Hayes.
Photos and drawings courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

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The Winton Gallery at the Science Museum in London, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, installation view; photo Luke Hayes

London | Mathematics gallery at the Science museum – Zaha Hadid Architects

On December 8, 2016, the Science Museum on Exhibition Road, London, opened a new permanent exhibition dedicated to mathematics, entitled The Winton Gallery.

Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects (Zaha Hadid, along with being an architect, was also trained as a mathematician), the new gallery presents mathematics though the means of technology and applied science.

Some 100 pieces from the museum’s collection are on display to help people understand the role that mathematical sciences and mathematicians play in our lives.
Exhibits on view encompasses artifacts dating from the 17th century to the present, including calculating machines, mechanical devices, scientific instruments, consumer electronics, measuring tools, vehicles, an Enigma cipher machine, furniture, architectural models, historical documents, videos, and interactive installations.

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Views of The Winton Gallery and of some of the exhibits on show

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An Enigma cypher machine

The centerpiece of the 9,800-square-foot exhibition is a 1929 Handly Page experimental airplane whose aerodynamic ideally summarizes the main concept of the gallery: how mathematics helps solve real-world problems.

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Plan, transverse and longitudinal sections of the exhibition, courtesy ZHA

This plane, and the fascinating – almost spiritual – beauty of a form shaped by the laws of aerodynamics it expresses, also inspired the gallery’s design.
As mentioned earlier, the design was developed by Zaha Hadid Architects, who started working on it years before Dame Hadid prematurely passed away, in March 2016.

“When I was growing up in Iraq, math was an everyday part of life. We would play with math problems just as we would play with pens and paper to draw – math was like sketching.” once Zaha Hadid said.

Indeed, ZHA’s curvilinear design – inspired by the geometry of the airflow which envelopes a flying airplane, developed with the aid of fluid dynamic computational software, and further emphasized by an innovative lighting designed by Arup – is aimed to express how math shapes nature, influences the environment we live in, and regulates almost all human activities and creative disciplines, including architecture.

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Views and design diagrams of the exhibition, courtesy ZHA

Photos © Luke Hayes.
Photos and drawings courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects


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