Charles W. Brown Planetarium

Ball State University
As the largest planetarium in the state, this addition boasts a fifty-two foot diameter dome and anchors Ball State University's Cooper Science Complex.

The addition of the Charles W. Brown Planetarium replaced existing facilities in the Cooper Science complex. The planetarium features state of the art projection technology to enhance the teaching capabilities of BSU’s Astronomy Department. The instruments housed within the facility are a hybrid combination of both optical and digital projectors. This combination of old and new technology provides a wide ranging capability to not only display the sky but also to project animations and interactive digital information to augment the optical projection.

In keeping with BSU’s goals for the project, the architectural vocabulary and materials mimic that of the original building.

To replicate the silence of outer space, the building shell had to be capable of excluding all external low frequency noise sources such as emergency vehicles on their way to the nearby Ball Memorial Hospital. To accomplish this, a combination of grouted masonry walls and a cast-in-place concrete dome are utilized. Interior walls are acoustically isolated from the building shell to isolate the theater from outside noise.

To complete the near silent environment the mechanical system was designed utilizing sound deadened ductwork to deliver low velocity air above the perforated projection dome. All mechanical systems are heavily isolated to prevent the transmission of both sound and vibration to the structure. Any vibration of the structure would significantly degrade the quality of the projection on the skydome.

The facility provides unique teaching capabilities to the Department of Astronomy and an unparalleled opportunity to the University and surrounding community to learn about our universe.

Project Details

Location
Muncie, Indiana
Size
6,500 sf addition