In the centre of Heillbronn, Germany, an extension for the Experimenta science centre was built. The spiral-shaped building, designed by Sauerbruch Hutton, complements the adjacent existing building and offers additional exhibition spaces. Seminar and event rooms, a multifunctional "Science Dome" and a roof terrace with an observatory were built. The exterior facade has a smooth surface made of dark and light triangles. Octatube was contracted to build the internal eye-catcher; a 4-storey, glass, spiral structure.
When you walk into the foyer you immediately see the 25-meter high glass spiral structure that appears to be hovering in the building's high atrium. As you walk through the museum, the four themed worlds unfold and, as is fitting for a science centre, you discover all the museum has to offer. The glass provides a view of the surrounding urban landscape.
Octatube was awarded this contract because we were able to convert the challenging and complex design of the architect into a realizable technical design. We were also able to convince the client that we could handle the complex assembly. The client opted for a design without the use of visible fixings. The glass panels of 6 by 3 meters and over 1000 kg are secured with an adhesive connection.
Special building permit
This building method of adhesive connecting is not common in Germany, so a special permit had to be obtained from the local federal state (Bundesland). Octatube did all the paperwork related to the license. We fully explained the technical design and demonstrated in a constructive way that the glass remains securely in place with a double adhesion. Octatube thus ensured the Bundesland that the design is safe, and we were given permission to build.
The ceiling has a special shape, which is obtained by stretching a translucent cloth that is stretched between stellar beams. A special type of fabric was chosen, consisting of two layers of film. The two layers create beautiful, diffuse light effects in combination with the LED lamps hanging above the canvas.
The maintenance installation was developed in cooperation with a supplier in Germany. The system is placed on top of the atrium. This allows the exterior of the atrium to be cleaned. However, the parts under the access bridges are not accessible at present. The question remains whether this will be solved with abseilers or with an addition to the installation. Octatube Services will devise a plan for this.
The available space in the atrium was limited. Also, several construction teams were working simultaneously at the construction site. This made the assembly of the glass construction a challenge. Nevertheless, Octatube succeeded in building this 4-storey construction. The result is magnificent. The client and architect are therefore very pleased with what Octatube has done.
For explorers of all ages!
The new science centre Experimenta is enchanting. The different floors are each unique and will house around 275 interactive exhibitions for young and older explorers. In short, Experimenta really is a museum to visit and discover!
(Photo's © Experimenta & Ronald Halbe)