Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Gates Planetarium

The Gates Planetarium at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science provides the city of Denver with a world-class planetarium on a national scale.

Auerbach Pollock Friedlander provided theatre and audio-video consulting for the angled dome planetarium. The venue is a 130-seat multi-purpose theatre specifically designed for primary planetarium use with a small flexible stage allowing for lectures, narration and musical presentations.

Early on, the design team agreed on a virtual-reality type of system that would allow teaching interactivity between the audience and the presenter while maintaining the magic of the shows. This was achieved using digital technology and a front-tilted perforated projection dome with the spring-line at the horizon of the dome carefully designed to hide video projectors, loudspeakers and other equipment. The stadium-raked seating varies depending on the location of the seat allowing the audience to comfortably see the entire dome while maintaining clear sightlines to the front of the stage.

The audio system provides an automated method to independently control multiple channels of surround sound, plus distributed subwoofers to create a digital, virtual reality audio environment.

Architect: Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates LLP
Size: 40,000 SF
Completion: 2003