The eternal dream : understanding the heavens

2013

With Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, scientific culture shines like a star.

Fittingly clad in aluminum, the planetarium’s audacious design was conceived by the architectural consortium of Cardin, Ramirez, Julien & Aedifica. With its arrival near the Biodôme, the new flagship facility completes Space for Life, now the largest natural sciences museum complex in Canada. In less than a year, over 270,000 people have visited this unique building, the result of an international architectural competition. Incorporating the main principles of sustainable architecture in its design and construction, it is on track to receive LEED Platinum certification, the highest in North America.

Thanks to its green roof, reducing the heat island effect of the urban environment, the building is an oasis of freshness and relaxation. Inside, its architecture incorporates natural light and materials. Featuring a design reminiscent of planets like Jupiter or Saturn, the Milky Way theatre has the shape of a sphere, and is covered with slats made entirely of Québec wood—a wonderful nod to our forests, which are one of the best places for observing the stars. A tribute to local expertise, this new building invites us to rethink our connection with nature, our planet, and the universe. A great facility that is indeed worthy of a cultural metropolis!

Where science and art meet 

The Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium offers visitors a unique experience. Making permanent room for creativity, its two theatres offer two different—but complementary—presentations, one in a poetic vein and the other scientific. In the Chaos theatre, Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon, the creators of Continuum, immerse visitors in an amazing cosmic odyssey accompanied by a soundtrack of mesmerizing symphonic music. In the show From the Earth to the Stars, an astronomy interpreter guides visitors along a virtual journey exploring the universe that will take them beyond the stars, thousands of light-years from Earth. The experience continues with EXO, Our Search for Life in the Universe. A permanent exhibition that examines life on Earth in order to better study life elsewhere, its dynamic digital content on touch-screen displays can be updated at any time to reflect new scientific discoveries.

The Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium brilliantly combines science, art and emotion. It launches us on a breathtaking experience of the universe to better connect with our own planet!

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