Zaha Hadid Architects have been chosen by the Science Museum to design a pioneering new mathematics gallery, made possible by the largest individual donation ever made to the museum from long-standing supporters of science David and Claudia Harding.
Welcoming the £5 million gift, Science Museum Director, Ian Blatchford said: “David and Claudia stand out among philanthropists as dedicated champions of science. We are determined to match their enormous generosity with the ambition we show in harnessing our world-class collections to tell the stories of how mathematicians have helped to shape the world. This is a game-changing gift to the museum, and it is my hope that this will inspire further transformational philanthropy.
“With this gallery we want to evoke the kind of excitement around mathematics as our Collider exhibition has done around particle physics and with Zaha Hadid’s extraordinary designs this project is off to the best start imaginable. This appointment reflects our ambition to deliver the world’s foremost gallery of mathematics both in its collection and its design.”
The permanent gallery will tell stories that place mathematics at the heart of our lives, exploring how mathematicians, their tools and ideas have helped to shape the world from the turn of the 17th century to the present. Zaha Hadid’s pioneering practice has embodied this idea by anchoring engineering and mathematical thinking throughout their designs.
Zaha Hadid, who studied maths at the American University in Beirut, said: “The design explores the many influences of mathematics in our everyday lives; transforming seemingly abstract mathematical concepts into an exciting interactive experience for visitors of all ages.”
David Harding has a long record of working with the Science Museum Group, both as an individual and through the business he founded, Winton Capital Management. Recent projects include support for the Collider exhibition and tour, Information Age and the Science Museum’s educational work. He said: “We hope the gallery will bring pleasure and interest to Science Museum visitors and feel privileged to be able to associate ourselves with it. Mathematics is a fascinating and mysterious but, for some, forbidding subject. The new gallery has been created to convey something of that fascination in a way that will appeal to a wide audience.”
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid said: “Mathematics is an absolutely vital part of a rounded education. So it is great news that the Science Museum is to have a new gallery, helping to bring it alive and make it meaningful for everyone. And with Zaha Hadid to design it, I’m sure the end product will delight and amaze all who come to see it. But this would not be possible without the outstanding generosity of David and Claudia Harding. Their philanthropic gesture creates a legacy which will benefit millions for generations to come.”
The David and Claudia Harding Mathematics Gallery will open in 2016 and will be curated by David Rooney.