Inside london’s science museum, Zaha Hadid architects has opened the new mathematics gallery featuring over 100 pieces from the institution’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics collections. the permanent gallery is the first exhibition space designed by zaha hadid and ultimately, reveals the significance of how mathematics is intertwined into everyone’s lives
The sinuous space is illuminated in purple, and was influenced by the handley page aircraft — its design driven by equations of airflow used in the aviation industry. the form of aeroplanes is the theme that encapsulates the gallery’s design and the way in which the practice of mathematics has helped solve problems throughout history. mathematics and geometry has always been a characteristic element in the architect’s work, and the winton gallery marks the first project since zaha hadid’s passing to be opened in the united kingdom.
The layout and lines of the gallery represent the air that would have flowed around the historic aircraft in flight, from the positioning of the showcases and benches to the three-dimensional curved surfaces of the central pod structure. ‘at its heart this gallery reveals a rich cultural story of human endeavour that has helped transform the world over the last four hundred years’, comments curator dr david rooney ‘mathematical practice underpins so many aspects of our lives and work, and we hope that bringing together these remarkable stories, people and exhibits will inspire visitors to think about the role of mathematics in a new light.’
‘from a beautiful 17th century islamic astrolabe that uses ancient mathematical techniques to map the night sky, to an early example of the famous enigma machine, designed to resist even the most advanced mathematical techniques for code breaking during the second world war, each historic object within the gallery has an important story to tell,’ explains ZHA. ‘archive photography and film helps to capture these stories, and introduces the wide range of people who made, used or were impacted by each mathematical device or idea.’