Phæno Science Centre

Located on a special site, the Phæno Science Centre constitutes both the endpoint of a chain of important cultural buildings and a connecting link to the north bank of Volkswagen’s Autostadt. Multiple threads of pedestrian and vehicular movement are pulled through the site both on an artificial ground landscape and inside the building, effectively composing a movement-paths interface.
The building is structured to maintain a considerable degree of transparency and porosity on the ground, since the main volume of the exhibition-scape is raised, covering an outdoor public plaza with commercial and cultural functions residing in the structural concrete cones. An artificial crater-like landscape is developed inside the open exhibition space, while protruding volumes accommodate other functions of the centre.
A glazed public ‘wormhole’ extension of the existing bridge flows through the building, allowing views of and from the exhibition space. It liberates the area beneath as a new urban space in the form of a covered artificial landscape with gently undulating hills and valleys. Its interior features an architectural adventure playground with 250 experimental stations on fascinating themes from the world of science and technology.
The avant-garde architectural design entailed a constructional realisation hitherto unattainable in conventional terms of supports, girders and roofing, calling for ‘of a piece’ sculptural moulding. In contrast to the standard method of flat formwork building with concrete, Phæno is distinguished by the predominant use of individually fabricated formwork elements and cast-in-situ concrete. Concrete formwork elements were needed, sufficient to cover nine football fields, reinforced with iron as heavy as 5,000 small cars.