The Winton Gallery, a new gallery in the London Science Museum, is all about a subject people instinctively either love or hate: mathematics. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and opened on December 8, 2016, the gallery aims to change the minds of visitors who hate math and encourage them to look at the role of mathematics in everyday life in a new way.
It is a strange coincidence that the studio’s first permanent public exhibition project, also its first project completed in the UK after the Iraqi architect’s premature death, should focus precisely on the relationship between architecture, mathematics and geometry which was always the foundation of Zaha Hadid’s projects as an architect with a degree in mathematics.
The gallery exhibits works and inventions of the last four centuries which demonstrate the fundamental contribution the science of mathematics has made to improvement of all human activities and of so many aspects of our everyday lives. In the centre of the gallery is the Handley Page Gugnunc, an experimental plane built in 1929 which was of essential importance for research into the safety of flight and the evolution of the study of aerodynamics. The plane incarnates the main theme of the gallery, which is how the science of mathematics has helped solve real-world problems. Zaha Hadid ’s project is inspired by the geometric shapes created by air flows striking an airplane in flight, developed using parametric and fluid dynamics simulation software to determine the positions of the display cases and of the three-dimensional curved surfaces of the central structure. A concrete example of how mathematics can influence and determine the environment we live in.