THE FORTRESS OF KNOWLEDGE (2015)
The Fortress of Knowledge is a unique architectural building combining the old appearance of the artillery warehouse more than 150 years old with the use of contemporary materials and modern processing forms. The entire centre is to popularize science and education in natural sciences. It provides spaces for spending one's leisure time and interactive education through permanent expositions, exhibitions, seminars, cultural programs and specialized classrooms.
The architectural design of the Fortress of Knowledge was based on the appearance of a former military building, which was reconstructed and complemented with modern features. The original building contained a wooden frame with two floors and rows of oak-tree pillars bearing lengthwise beams. There was no staircase in the building, transport between floors was ensured by wooden ramps. The artistic design stemmed from the original appearance of the military object which also served as an inspiration. Due to these features a unique building combining military austerity with attractive expositions.
The combination of the original and contemporary styles may be found for example in the use of glass features. Besides the glass walls separating the individual sections, glass can be found also in the floor where it exposes the original construction. The construction was generally respected as much as possible: we preserved the wooden pillars, crossbeams and rafters. Some of the pillars were embarked into stone footings due to rotting. The roof visible from afar is a significant feature of the building; in the course of its existence the roof lost its dormers and a reconstruction based on the archived documents and historical photographs was necessary. Except for the roof reconstruction we exchanged the windows and repaired the window bars, insulated the entrance gate, facade and the roof, renewed the dormers and the installation of the lightning protection.
The layout of the Fortress of Knowledge is designed to be visitor-friendly in terms of orientation. The central part of the building contains the most essential facilities such as cloakrooms, ticket box, elevator, main staircase and bathrooms. Separate wings were established with compact area for installing the expositions divided by turnstiles. The building has four floors including a two-level attic. The first floor houses the hall with the staircase and the elevator with a glass elevator shaft. The eastern wing provides space for the “Science and technology in the time of active operation of the Fortress”section, the western wing is used as a multifunctional area for seminars, conferences, social and cultural events. The centre on the second floor is comprised of the hall divided into side sections. The eastern wing of the second floor provides space for the exposition called “Physical phenomena and mathematics”, the opposite wing hosts an exhibition called “Living water”.
Two ramps lead to the attic. One of them, a so-called aquarium, makes also a place for meeting, lectures or projections. The attic again preserves the two-wing sectioning. “Scientific workshops”, arts workshop and a chemistry lab are placed in the first one and the exposition of “the Optoelectronics” is to be found in the other one. Besides, a planetarium dome will be located here in the future, therefore the truss construction was modified for this purpose. The second attic level houses the exposition with the title “Astronomy”. This area is in the place of the opposite dormers extended into balconies suitable for observing the skies.