Designed by Henning Larsen Architects, the Massar Children’s Discovery Center is expected to be a main educational attraction surrounded by a new 170,000m² public realms. The building structural design is influenced by the unique Damask rose, it has shell structure that allows a dazzling scenography of light beams into the interior. The core of the rose has a big communal orientation space- the place where a cross pollination of knowledge occurs. The central region under the open sky confronts the normal horizontal movement in the Arab city. The Massar Centre will be the heart of a Syrian educational program – Massar. The center will offer activities to empower young Syrians to contribute actively in building their future.
“The discovery center form is inspired by the unique Damascus rose. The shape provides shade and natural ventilation in the building. Its center forms a large communal space.”
-Louis Becker, Design Director of Henning Larsen Architects
The center aims to be a low energy building using local materials, skills and resources. Energy loads are reduced passively by shaping the building to keep the sun out. The proposal suggests a shell structure allowing a playful and dazzling scenography of light into the interior spaces – like light filtering between rose petals. Exhibition and administrative areas are laid out between the rose petals creating interior labyrinth journeys inspired by walks in the old city of Damascus formed by walls with the sky as the window.
The building form and fabric is optimized to reduce requirements for active or operational heating and cooling. The use of and control of solar gain can help significantly reduce energy consumption by harnessing and storing solar gain in the winter the amount of heating can be reduced. By shading in summer, cooling loads can be reduced. On the other hand, the project recycles all water in the house, the pump system and the heating of water are driven by solar energy and a geothermal heat system produces the heating for the house. Together with optimum daylight and sun screening Massar Children’s Discovery Center has a very high environmental level.