The building is unique due to its very futuristic design, resembling a landed flying saucer. It was designed by architect Louis Christiaan Kalff, while the exhibition was conceived by James Gardner. The building was based on an idea by Frits Philips, who originally made a sketch of the building on a paper napkin. Frits Philips wanted to give the people of Eindhoven a beautiful and educational gift to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the company that bears his family name.
Its concrete dome is in diameter and is held in place by of rebar.
In the 1960s and 70s it attracted large visitor numbers, since its interactive exhibitions were a new and unique concept in the Netherlands at that time. But when competing science museums opened in other cities, the number of visitors to the Evoluon declined every year. After several years of losing money, the original museum closed down in 1989 and the Evoluon was converted into a conference center, opening in 1998.
The Evoluon is chiefly remembered in the UK from Bert Haanstra's wordless short film, titled simply Evoluon. Commissioned by Philips to publicise the museum, it was shown as a trade test colour film on the BBC from 1968 to 1972.