The Queen Elizabeth II Planetarium was conceived in a time of political uncertainty as the cold war raged. Yet, it was also time of great optimism for the future. Edmonton opened Canada’s first planetarium in 1960, named for Queen Elizabeth II, in Coronation Park, which she dedicated in 1959 during an official visit to Canada. It is unique in the history of modern architecture in Canada, the first of its kind and a completely original design eminently suited to its function. It served the original purpose of providing entertaining and educational astronomical and night sky presentations for 24 years, until being replaced with a larger nearby planetarium in 1984.
The building was out of public use for 30 years and consequently fell into disrepair. In 2017, the City of Edmonton designated the QEII Planetarium as a municipal historic resource under the Alberta Historic Resources Act, meaning that it is accorded a high level of protection in the province. After several years of conservation, it will reopen in 2020 as a public resource. The completely upgraded junior planetarium will again introduce a young audience to the wonders of space in conjunction with its nearby neighbor, the Telus World of Science Edmonton.
Recognize and list the features which mark the Planetarium as a unique and early example of the Modern Expressionist Style in Canada.
Explain how the restored finishes should resist the toll taken by Edmonton’s northern climate.
Evaluate the extent to which the building achieves the goal of universal accessibility.
Identify exterior envelope improvements undertaken to achieve a higher level of sustainability.
Describe how the 12 Zodiac symbols in stone mosaic tiles, designed and installed by artist Heinrick Eichner and his wife Edith in the mid-1960s, affect the Planetarium’s front plaza.