Evoluon – Eindhoven, Netherlands - Atlas Obscura


A UFO-shaped event building originally intended to be a science museum showcasing the future. 


When Dr. Frits Philips sketched out the rough idea for this UFO-shaped building on a napkin, he was dreaming of the perfect gift to give to the community. 

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of his family’s electric company, Philips wanted to erect a massive and unique museum for the people of Eindhoven. In the shape of a flying saucer, it would be an homage to the future, and serve as a science education center with cutting edge interactive exhibitions. Conceived by James Gardner and designed by Louis Christiaan Kalff, the Evoluon was born.

Throughout the 60s and 70s, the giant, otherworldly museum was wildly popular, its new style of exhibition and 253 ft. concrete dome attracting people from all over the Netherlands. In 1970 alone, the museum attracted 500,000 visitors. Eventually, nearby cities began opening their own fancy science centers, and attendance at Evoluon started to consistently decline year after year. In 1989, the spaceship-shaped, museum closed its doors, but fortunately that was not the end of its story. 

You can’t just let a good UFO building go to waste. In 1998, the Evoluon was reopened as a state of the art conference center, and hosts a wide array of conferences and events, including concerts, TED Talks, and sustainable exhibitions. 

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