A Grand Entrance in Celebration of Water

The excitement of visiting the science centre begins before our guests even enter the building. The Aurora Project builds upon the existing landscape and weaves this into the experience.

The design of the south entrance plaza is grounded in the celebration of water in both its liquid and solid states. As a winter city, Edmonton’s dynamic landscape is defined by the changing nature of water. As such, the inspiration for the plaza is to use the changing states of water as both a teaching and placemaking medium.

The south entrance plaza connects the architecture of the building with the surrounding landscape of the park. The narrative of water and ice is celebrated in this space, as both a teaching and visual element. Water from the roof of the building is captured in the exterior alpine garden, and flows through a runnel towards the central rain garden pond. In the winter, the water freezes into dynamic sculptural elements that evolve with the changing temperatures, linking the arctic gallery to the exterior landscape.

In the central pond space, the water surface becomes a skating area, where visitors can gather to enjoy outdoor activities. Adjacent to the rain garden, a formal bosque of trees offers a leafy location to sit and enjoy the south sun, on a series of movable tables and chairs. The trees provide valuable shade in hot summer months, and the southern exposure means this is a comfortable place to sit even in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. The flexibility offered by movable tables and chairs creates a space ideal for programs or casual usage by patrons and visitors alike.