Project Management Institute

Infinite Value

Mathematics and Innovation Add Up for a Museum Gallery

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“[T]he mathematics gallery will tell a rich cultural story of human endeavor that has helped transform the world over the last 400 years.”

—David Rooney, PhD, curator, London's Science Museum

London's Science Museum has a new addition—pun intended. Mathematics: The Winton Gallery aims to make the impact of an abstract subject very tangible. The permanent exhibit, the result of a two-year project that closed in December, demonstrates how math influences much of the modern world—from commerce to transportation to architecture.

Rather than explore math in conceptual terms, the team at Zaha Hadid Architects looked to show how it drives innovation. At the center of the gallery, which presents more than 100 objects from the museum's collections, is the Handley Page “Gugnunc” biplane, built in 1929. The wooden aircraft not only symbolizes how math has helped solve aviation problems, it inspired the project team's gallery design. Large, translucent, curling canopies hanging above the exhibition space represent airflow patterns that streamed around the biplane in midair.

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TOP PHOTO BY LUKE HAYES. BOTTOM PHOTO BY JODY KINGZETT/COURTESY OF ZAHA HADID ARCHITECTS

PROJECT:
Mathematics: The Winton Gallery

LOCATION:
London, England

BUDGET:
£5 million

BRAIN TEASER:
The exhibit features a 19th-century human skull marked by phrenological divisions.

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.

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