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Mathematics: The Winton Gallery wins 2017 Lux Award

The Lux Awards recognise lighting projects and companies that are leading innovation and change. ZHA worked with Arup to create a “breath-taking and unforgettable lighting display that takes visitors on a journey into mathematics” explained the Lux Awards jury.

Bringing together the remarkable stories and historical artefacts that highlight the central role of mathematical practice in all our lives, the gallery has welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors since it opened last December.

Positioned at the centre of the gallery is the Handley Page ‘Gugnunc’ aeroplane, built in 1929 for a competition to construct safe aircraft. Ground-breaking aerodynamic research influenced the wing design of this experimental aeroplane which encapsulates the gallery’s overarching theme, illustrating how mathematical practice has helped solve real-world problems.

Mathematics defines the gallery’s design. Inspired by the Handley Page aircraft, the design is driven by equations of airflow used in the aviation industry. The layout and lines of the gallery represent the air that would have flowed around this historic aircraft in flight.

“This pioneering project has vastly increased visitor numbers to the Mathematics Gallery and is an exemplar project in how architecture can be central to successful curatorial development. The client should be commended for engaging Zaha Hadid Architects as its designers. The project is finished to an exacting standard… the floating pod structure is precisely engineered and the precast concrete benches and new floor surfaces are seamless and refined,” explained the RIBA jury in May when the gallery received its RIBA London award.

Curator Dr David Rooney said, “Mathematical practice underpins so many aspects of our lives and work. Bringing together these remarkable stories, people and exhibits in this new gallery is inspiring visitors to think about the role of mathematics in a new light.”

The Sunday Times concurred, describing the new gallery as “an environment that fills you with wonder… I found myself uplifted by something pure, floaty and mysterious: the beauty of maths.”

Lux Award 2017

RIBA Awards (Mathematics: The Winton Gallery)  

Photo by Matt Danby