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Phaeno Science Center
Zaha Hadid Architects

March 03, 2005 /

Wolfsburg, Germany

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Photo @Thomas Mayer

Located in the center of Wolfsburg, on the ICE rail line, the Science Center is set both as the endpoint of a chain of important cultural buildings, by Aalto, Scharoun and Schweger, and as a connecting link to the north bank of the Mittelland Kanal - the Volkswagen plant and the Autostadt.

The main volume of the building, raised high above the ground on a series of concrete cones, maintains a large degree of transparent and porosity on the ground.

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Photo @Thomas Mayer
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Photo @Thomas Mayer

To create an urban field on the ground, with an object above, was a rare opportunity for us.

/Zaha Hadid

The area beneath it becomes a new kind of urban space, a covered artificial landscape with gently undulating hills and valleys, extending out into the surrounding area.

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Photo @Thomas Mayer
Functional spaces like the museum entrance, where an escalator takes visitors to the main level, the bookstore, and a theater are located in the concrete cones.

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Photo @Thomas Mayer
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Photo @Thomas Mayer
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Photo @Thomas Mayer
Multiple threads of pedestrian and vehicular movement are pulled through the site, both through the artificial ground landscape and inside and through the building, composing an interface of movement-paths. This constructional interweaving creates a uniquely close bond between the city and the building.

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Photo @Thomas Mayer
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Photo @Thomas Mayer
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Photo @Thomas Mayer
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Photo @Thomas Mayer
A glazed wormhole-like extension of the existing bridge flows through the building allowing views to and from the exhibition space.

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Photo @Thomas Mayer
In the main gallery space Hadid has created an artificial crater-like landscape allowing diagonal views to the different levels of the exhibition-scape, while volumes, which protrude, accommodate other functions. The cones become craters creating a link between the exterior and the mysterious dynamic landscape within.

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Photo @Thomas Mayer
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Photo @Thomas Mayer
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Photo @Thomas Mayer
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Photo @Thomas Mayer
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Photo @Thomas Mayer
The object of Phaeno is to open up new approaches to the world of natural science and technology, to reawaken the desire for making discoveries of one's own. The architecture involves the visitors, immediately absorbs them into an almost vibrating interior, which again and again creates surprising perspectives and unexpected relationships.

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Sketch courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
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Drawing courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects

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Drawing courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects

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Drawing courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
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Drawing courtesy Zaha Hadid Architect
Phaeno is the largest building constructed from "self-compacting concrete" (SCC) to date in Europe. Without this new type of concrete the diverse forms of Phaeno would have been difficult to achieve.

Facts about Phaeno Science Center

Total area: 

12, 631 m2

Architect:
Zaha Hadid Architects

Project Architect:

Christos Passas

Project Team:

Sara Klomps
Gernot Finselbach
Helmut Kinzler
David Salazar
Gunter Barczik
Silvia Forlati
Kenneth Bostock
Enrico Kleinke
Liam Young
Lida Charsouli
Barbara Kuit
Patrick Schumacher
Markus Dochantschi

Associate Architects:
Mayer Baehrle Freie Architekten BDA

Project Architect:

Christos Passas

Structural Engineers:

Adams Kara Taylor, London, UK
Tokarz Freirichs Leipold, Hanover, Germany

Services Engineers:

NEK, Braunschweig, Germany
Buro Happold, London, UK

Client:

City of Wolfsburg Ministry of Culture and Sport
Phaeno Science Center 

Photographed by Thomas Mayer

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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