Connecticut Science Center by Pelli
by Michael J. Crosbie
The Connecticut Science Center is a new architectural showpiece in the city of Hartford, Connecticut, designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. The design expresses themes that have been part of Cesar Pelli's oeuvre for many years: the importance of public space and its role in the city.
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The Science Center is the keystone of Adriaen's Landing, a multi-million dollar, multi-year planning and development effort to energize Hartford's waterfront and downtown. The Science Center is one of the last pieces of the development, which includes a convention center, hotel, public parks, and promenades on the Connecticut River.
Public Space and City Views
Pelli's buildings around the world are studded with memorable public spaces. One of his earliest was the Commons in Columbus, Indiana — a large, glassy enclosure that functions as a public forum, completed in 1973. Perhaps Pelli's most famous public space is the Winter Garden at the World Financial Center in New York City, constructed in 1988. For Pelli, such urban spaces are a civic gift — places to gather in cities that are often bereft of welcoming public realms.
The heart of the new Science Center is "Science Alley," a great space open to the public — you can wander through it and enjoy its lively nature without paying admission. You arrive at Science Alley from the center's main entry on Columbus Boulevard, where you ascend via an escalator into a 130-foot- (40-meter-) tall space with walls of glass east and west and a vibrant yellow wall to the north, across which the sun plays all day.
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