Impressive awe-inspiring experiences are promised to visitors of all ages in Germany‘s largest science center, the Experimenta in Heilbronn. The discovery and adventure environments have been completely renovated and expanded with a futuristic new building by the Berlin based architectural office Sauerbruch Hutton. Designed to resemble a helix, the building emphasizes the didactic concerns of the science center with its architecture. The lighting design by Licht Kunst Licht also supports the concept: For the architectural lighting, the office has planned lighting systems that are equally as functional as they are aesthetically pleasing.
Circular path with change of perspective
The new building can be explored in a striking helix – it coils through a dynamic structure of glass and steel, extends from the spacious foyer across five floors up to the roof and leads onto the landscaped roof terrace that offers a spectacular view of the Neckar valley.
The paths through the building thus constantly offer new insights and views. At the heart of the spiral there are four creative studios housed in glass boxes, whereas the exhibition rooms of the themed areas are organized around the helix.
Focus on lighting effect
The lighting elegantly integrates into the architecture and is cleverly installed within the on-site conditions. This is exemplified in the exhibition lighting, which has been planned by the lighting design office maierlighting GmbH from Tübingen. Suspended relatively close to the ceiling slab and arranged according to the rhythm of the acoustic slats, a track system runs parallel to the ceiling beams. „The lighting layer thus largely avoids the field of vision,“ explain Maik Czarniak and Edwin Smida from Licht Kunst Licht, about the design by maierlighting.
Luminous helix on the Neckar
Furthermore, the luminaires were precisely fitted into the lamella ceiling of the helix. Linear luminaires arranged in regular grids visually recede into the background, while the light itself makes quite an appearance. Maik Czarniak and Edwin Smida explain: “Since this concept was consistently implemented across all zones and levels, the spiral is not only manifest within the building, but also in the external view as a uniform and coherent architectural gesture. As a luminous helix it significantly shapes the night image of the Experimenta’s new building on the Neckar.”
Dynamic light – needs-based controls
Thanks to long-lasting, efficient LED light sources and an intelligent control technology, the light colour can be changed in many places within the building. The luminaires in the helix combine warm white and cool white LEDs, allowing for very different lighting moods. The luminous ceiling above the reception integrates RGB LEDs, allowing to create all shades that can be blended from red, green and blue light. The bistro, in turn, is illuminated evenly with neutral white light during the daytime, while warm, incandescent-like islands of light can be brought to the tables for the evening hours. All light sources are organized in sensible switching and dimming groups permitting the operator to configure the lighting according to his requirements.
Project: Extension Experimenta Science Center, Heilbronn
Client: Dieter Schwarz Stiftung gGmbH
Schwarz Real Estate GmbH & Co. KG, Heilbronn
Architect: Sauerbruch Hutton
Gesellschaft von Architekten mbH, Berlin
Architectural lighting design: Licht Kunst Licht AG, Bonn / Berlin, www.lichtkunstlicht.com
Project lead and team: Maik Czarniak und Edwin Smida
Scenographic lighting design (exhibition areas, helix, foyers, accent lighting shop):
maierlighting GmbH, Tübingen, www.maierlighting.de
Electrical design: Drees & Sommer SE, Stuttgart
Inauguration: March 31, 2019
Photo Credit: Roland Halbe
Specified luminaires – extract:
Linear downlights fitted into the lamella ceiling – iGuzzini
Linear lighting profiles in the creative studios (Talentschmiede) – LED Linear
Linear recessed luminaires WC/wardrobe – Selux
Round recessed luminaires basement – Zumtobel
Round pendant lights in the restaurant (custom-designed luminaires) – Objektleuchten Berlin