The PHAENO Science Centre the first of its kind in Germany, appears as a mysterious and strange object geving rise to curiosity. The visitor is faced with a degree of complexity and strangeness, which is ruled however by a very specific system of structural organization. Phaeno provides hands on entertaining access to the phenomena of natural science and technology. It includes exhibition rooms, laboratoria and a science theatre.
Located at a very special site in the town – both endpoint of the chain of cultural important buildings from Aalto, Scharoun and Schweger as well as being a connecting link to the new “Volkswagen-Town” the project closes as an effective urban mass the northern edge of the inner city along the Bahnhofsstrasse.
Several concrete cone feet are carrying the impressing mass of the building, inside a seven meters height structural adventure unfolds. Phaeno is the far largest construction in “self-compacting concrete” (SCC), that has built in europe and will therefore be an important reference object. Functional space like the museum entrance, the bookstore and a theater, are located in these concrete cones.
The Phaeno building is a winning design that came out of an international competition organized in 2000. After a construction period, of more than four years the Phaeno building is breaking with many conventions in architecture.
Video by Arno Dietsche for Mayer Bährle architects: (link youtube)