Experimenta

Experimenta

Architect
Sauerbruch Hutton
Location
Heilbronn, Germany | View Map
Project Year
2019
Category
Cultural Centres
Stories By
Sauerbruch Hutton

iGuzzini
© Roland Halbe

Experimenta

Sauerbruch Hutton as Architects

This unusual building is located at the centre of Heilbronn, on an island in the River Neckar. It is conceived as a helical sequence of spaces offering an experience that is finely choreographed between the interior of the building and the surrounding landscape.


The new building forms an ensemble with a converted warehouse, framing a small piazza from where visitors enter the museum. Passing through the spacious foyer, they move upwards along the helix. This takes them through four levels containing themed exhibition spaces that focus on scientific and technological subjects. For young visitors there are interactive media installations, where they can apply what they have just learned to specific tasks.


The themed sections on each floor are offset in horseshoe form around the core of the building and a full-height atrium, into which pods are inserted that contain interactive stations. Finally, the helix brings visitors out onto a landscaped roof terrace that offers a panorama of the entire Neckar Valley. Also located on the roof are an astronomical observatory and an auditorium for experimental theatre. An alternative route leads to the basement, where the 360° Science Dome cinema and spaces for temporary exhibitions are located.


The Experimenta building is like a toolbox whose architecture reinforces the educational purpose of the science centre. It presents views out into the distance, while also leading the eye inwards, right down to a microscopic scale.

The Experimenta Science Center extension

iGuzzini as Manufacturers
The extension designed by the Sauerbruch Hutton studio for the Experimenta centre in Heilbronn, is located on an island in the Neckar river. It was conceived as a helical sequence of glass and steel spaces that brings together the building’s interiors and the surrounding countryside.

When visitors arrive, they walk in through the spacious foyer and then up along the helix. This path takes them through four floors featuring exhibition spaces focused on science and technology with interactive multimedia installations where young visitors can apply what they have learnt.

The themed areas on each floor are staggered and arranged in horseshoe formations centred on the building’s core and the helix leads visitors up to a panoramic terrace that offers splendid views over the entire Neckar valley. There is also an astronomic observatory and an auditorium on the roof. The museum is for children up to ten-years-old and it is designed to present natural sciences and technology in a way that is both fun and easy to understand.

The lighting design blends with the architecture designed by Sauerbruch Hutton and reinforces its image as a highly interesting and surprising space. The visitors’ path is circular, so it offers continuous changes of perspective linked to the building’s helical structure.

Various types of lighting have been used, like the system designed for the display areas and the one for visitor circulation in the communal areas.

The complete lighting for the display spaces and scenic areas in the communal areas features a track and projector system designed by the maierlighting studio to meet exhibition requirements that may vary. In some cases, large body Palco luminaires with medium and wide flood optics have been used according to the items on display. In other cases, round version View luminaires are used with a range of optics from super spot to wide flood. In the communal areas, View projectors, often paired and mounted on tracks are integrated with general lighting created by 10 and 15 cell Laser Blade High Contrast luminaires installed between the slats of the false ceiling designed by Licht Kunst Licht.

In both the exhibition spaces and communal areas the same effect present in the day is reproduced at night. In natural light the building is completely transparent and this homogeneous, diffuse effect is also created with the artificial lighting.

Particular care has been taken over the colour temperatures used. The luminaires use 3000 K and 4000 K lamps and they all have DALI technology and are operated by a specific control system. This colour temperature differentiation allows various scenarios to be created as well as projecting the unique effect of the building onto the surrounding nocturnal landscape, so that an image of consistent and uniform architecture exists at night too.
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