Science Museum: Challenge of Materials Gallery

London, UK

The Challenge of Materials Gallery at the Science Museum was WilkinsonEyre’s first museum project. The Gallery demonstrates the diversity of materials and the limits to which they can be pushed. Both the actual exhibits and the form and construction of the architecture of the gallery were therefore dictated by this theme.

A series of varied architectural interventions create a thematic framework for the visitor, with natural light reintroduced into the refurbished space. The focus of the gallery is the unique and dramatic Challenge of Materials Bridge, which spans the main atrium. Designed to the limits of technical feasibility, the responsive glass and steel bridge is suspended from a series of fine wires linked to four crescent-shaped steel plates fixed to the building structure. Sensors trigger a computer which relays a special composition by sound artist Ron Geesin in response to the loads imposed by visitors crossing the bridge.