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CERN’s Science Gateway takes (tubular) shape

Two months on from the first-stone ceremony, one of Science Gateway’s tubular structures has been installed

Lifting of Science Gateway's first steel cylinder
A new architectural feature – in the form of a tube – has been installed this week on the Esplanade des Particules. (Image: CERN)

Construction of Science Gateway, CERN’s new scientific education and communication hub designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with Brodbeck-Roulet architectes associés, is proceeding apace.

A new architectural feature – in the form of a tube – has been installed this week on the Esplanade des Particules. This is the first of two large steel cylinders measuring 10 metres in diameter and 80 metres in length that will house CERN’s permanent and temporary exhibitions. In these structures, visitors will be immersed in an environment representing the underground tunnels of the LHC.

The tubes, which appear to be suspended in space, evoke the pioneering technology that underpins the cutting-edge research carried out at CERN and elsewhere in order to push the boundaries of our knowledge of the origins of the universe. Science Gateway’s architecture is therefore a celebration of the inventiveness and creativity that characterise the world of research and engineering.

Three other features will soon be added to the architectural complex: the bridge, the solar collectors and the forest.

The bridge, passing over the Route de Meyrin at a height of 6 metres, will connect the tubes, symbolising the enduring link between science and society. Several spaces dedicated to exhibitions and educational activities will branch off from this main artery. The solar collectors – three square solar panels measuring 40 metres by 40 metres – will be installed on three pavilions that will house a large 900-seat amphitheatre, labs, an exhibition space, the reception area, the shop and the restaurant. The forest will provide a wonderful experience for people exploring the area on foot. With more than 400 trees, it will remind us that all our explorations, at every scale, are ultimately about nature.

Through its exhibitions and hands-on educational activities, Science Gateway will give people of all ages and from all walks of life the chance to find out about CERN’s discoveries, scientific research and technologies. It will also set the bar for efforts to encourage young people to pursue careers in science and technology. Science Gateway is due to open to the public in 2023.