- Location Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
- Value £13.5 million
- Size 15,000 m²
- Client The Dynamic Earth Charitable Trust
- Year 1999
Just as the building's appearance suggests a relationship between nature and artifice, so its purpose helps visitors to understand that relationship. The project is located on the exact spot where James Hutton (the father of modern geology) lived and worked in the 18th century. It is a particularly appropriate site for the included exhibition where interactive, virtual and widescreen film technologies simulate events in the Earth's creation and evolution, from the Big Bang to the future. From below its sculpted roof, visitors experience earthquakes, volcanoes and the dynamic processes which formed natural settings like those surrounding the city.
The building comprises three main parts: the fabric roof and its structure which is set on a terrace housing a two-storey exhibition space and the entrance forecourt. The first makes a generous entrance pavilion which, although completely enclosed by glazing, has the feel of an outdoor space. A hemispherical dome above the multimedia theatre bursts into the space, indicating the activity occurring below.
The two-storey exhibition space is a large and flexible black box which gives ideal viewing conditions to visitors. Offices and workshops are located on either side of it. An ancient stone wall which once formed the edge of the brewery formerly on the site has been restored and extended to form the external wall of the black box.
The monumental forecourt is a new public place adding to Edinburgh's fund of generous civic spaces. Its amphitheatre is used for outdoor performances.