Universeum is transforming to meet the needs of society and give more value to more people. We are building the next-generation science center.
A bigger building with new, advanced content provides us with the conditions to meet the needs of society. With popular education and education, we can contribute to enhanced innovation, strengthened skills supply and a sustainable development of society.
Growing power for the future
Universeum’s development programme is based on a major investment in digitalisation and AI, an enhanced focus on sustainable development and advanced content in science, technology and mathematics. Combined with significant initiatives in different areas of knowledge, Universeum will become an even more powerful arena for popular education and education in the areas of science, technology and sustainable development.
This major investment in digitisation includes a new visualization dome, a public visualization lab that is unique in the world and a professorship in Didactics. Research is to be conducted at Universeum through an in-depth research collaboration with the University of Gothenburg. The focus will be on learning in the fields of science, technology and mathematics, where the latest digital technology makes new insights possible, with significance for the development of knowledge in future generations.
Back in 1999, in connection with Universeum’s construction, we were allocated government funds to work on popular education and education in the field of sustainable development. What was then a relatively unexplored area is now at the top of everyone’s agendas. After 19 years, we know how to translate and develop knowledge. As part of Universeum’s development programme, we are now increasing our focus on sustainable development and making sure that all our content is based on Agenda 2030.
We will develop our learning environments and enhance our programmes for children, adults, businesses, students, teachers and student teachers through new content in the fields of science, technology and mathematics. It will be possible to come here to explore everything from atoms and algorithms to the mathematics behind the technology. Universeum’s learning environments and programmes will operate in a compensatory way and develop everyone’s competences, abilities and skills.
Investments for sustainable social development
Universeum’s investments all takes place in close collaboration with academia, industry and society. The development of our content, from learning environments to programmes, is made possible by donations and partnerships. Together we make a difference.
Visualization Dome. On the roof of Universeum, we are building a spherical dome with absolutely world-class visualization technology. The dome will become a shared vehicle for 150 visitors on a voyage into genuine research data. We will go on expeditions out into the universe, into the microcosmos and back into history in order to understand how the world works. Technology and productions are being made possible through an donation from Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation to five Swedish science centres in the national Wisdome project.
Visualization Lab. In a visualization lab that will be unique in the world, people will have access to scientific data using the very latest visualization technology. The lab will allow people to create their own expeditions into the data, like a research explorer in search of questions and answers about, for example, space, the climate or urban development. The Visualization Lab has been developed in close collaboration with Visualization Center C and with support from the Sten A Olsson Foundation for Research and Communication.
Ocean Science Lab. The UN has decided to focus on the oceans and sustainability in 2021-2030. This decade of ocean science aims to improve the health of the world’s oceans and strengthen the conditions for the sustainable development of oceans and coastlines. Universeum is one of the actors involved in the Swedish Decade of Ocean Science with our Ocean Science Lab: a unique learning environment and platform for engagement, increased knowledge and enhanced innovation for sustainable oceans.
Applied research. A new professorship at the University of Gothenburg will link education research with the learning environments and programmes at Universeum. Professor Lena Pareto will promote child and youth education at Universeum while pursuing research in data visualisation and learning. The professorship has been enabled by FRF Foundation, Herman Krefting Foundation, IngaBritt and Arne Lundberg Research Foundation, Royal and Hvitfeldtska Foundation, and Mary von Sydow Donation Fund Foundation.
Miniverseum. A completely new exhibition for children 0–6 years and their adults will promote sustainable development and biodiversity in a fun-filled way, kick-starting the lifelong learning in science, technology and mathematics. Interactivity and programs will be designed as "together activities", so that children and adults can experience, learn and have fun together. Hasselblad Foundation has made the investment in our youngest visitors possible with a generous donation.
Sustainable health. In a new learning environment based on asthma and allergies, developed in collaboration with the Krefting Research Centre, research results will be visualized and complex relationships presented. Through links to science and technology in general, interest will also be boosted in higher education and research. This initiative is being made possible by a donation from the VBG Group’s main owner, the Herman Krefting Foundation for Allergy and Asthma Research.
Because we can do more. And we must do more to meet the needs of society. The education system, businesses, the city and the region – everyone needs more from us. More space and more content. How does AI work, why can the pH level not change in the oceans, exactly how worrying is it that the number of insects is falling, why are gravitational waves important for science and is the earth really the only place where we can live?
At Universeum, such questions must be asked and the answers explored. This is important if we are to understand our age, to seize the new technology and realise how beautiful yet at the same time how fragile our planet is. But the rapid pace of development and new discoveries demand increased knowledge. Good education and accessible adult education are needed.
Universeum needs to expand and replenish. To grow in order to step up to the next level.
Universeum currently welcomes about 600,000 visitors a year, around 75,000 of them teachers and students who use Universeum as a learning resource. With new areas and new content, we can attract more and aim for 700,000 visitors every year.
This will make a real difference.
The extension features a host of geometric shapes. The dome will be spherical with triangular features (six metres long and eight metres high!). The vertical tower reaches for the heavens while the horizontal bridge hovers in the air.
Sustainable construction in wood
The construction of Universeum started in 1999. It is a climate-smart building in large sections made of wood, constructed against the mountain at Korsvägen with visible cliffs inside its walls and an impressive view of Gothenburg. The vast roof over the rainforest is perfectly positioned to face the sun in order to harvest solar energy all year round. The building also uses the forces of nature for its ventilation through natural draughts. Large parts of it can be dismantled and reused.
When Universeum opened in 2001, it was the biggest public building with a bearing wooden structure. We are now continuing to build on this. Wood, which is increasingly being recognised as the most sustainable building material, will be combined with recycled panes of glass from our own or other buildings. And, just as in 1999, the name of the architect is Gert Wingårdh.
The extension will be visible from several principle angles. It challenges while at the same time giving something back to the city. With the tower and bridge facing south and the large sphere hovering at the very top, along with the groundbreaking technology that the extension will house, Universeum is creating a new landmark – not only in Gothenburg, but also in Sweden.
In the year that Universeum was completed, it was voted the most popular contemporary building in Sweden. It was also awarded Träpriset (Architecture in Wood Prize) in 2004.
More projects for the future.
Universeum is also developing and being developed here and now. Feel free to read about our school development projects Ungas kraft och Framtidsambassadörer which we are running together with Region Gothenburg and Göteborgs grundskoleförvaltning. About the school projects DigIt and Framtida transporter where we are collaborating with businesses, academia and the general public. And about EU projects in which we are involved, such as LoV-IoT and InnoForESt.