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Architecture at the Universum Bremen
Bremen-based architect Thomas Klumpp has not only succeeded in firing up visitors’ imagination with his design for the Science Center, but also in arousing curiosity and amazement both inside and outside this spectacular building.
After construction work began in spring 1999, it only took around 18 months for the Science Center to open to the public on 9 September 2000. The building was made using heavy steel girders, light wooden structures and some 6,000 cubic metres of concrete. Shaped like a giant whale, it gets its trademark silver gleam from an outer skin made of 40,000 stainless steel scales. The Science Center stands 27 metres in height, measures 22 metres across and is 70 metres long.
The SchauBox complements the innovative architecture of the Science Center by having its own uncomplicated style. A fascinating contrast is created by the classic cuboid shape of the building, which has a rust-red corten steel exterior. On the first floor the ceiling height is over six metres, allowing captivating micro-architecture to be mounted for the special exhibitions. The idea and implementation of the SchauBox are the work of Bremen architects Haslob Kruse + Partner, winners of a European competition to design the building. The firm also designed the Turm der Lüfte (tower of the skies), whose architecture and concept is unique in Europe. The structure is made of galvanised steel and has a timber facing made of Siberian larch. Both the indoor and outdoor staircases have glass floors, which either surprise or scare visitors by offering views straight down to the ground. This serves as a symbol for the transparency that is demanded of science. Illuminations give the edifice an otherworldly appearance as darkness falls. But most striking of all is the fact that the tower turns in on itself, with the upper observation platform at an angle of 30 degrees to the foundations – a feature that has already earned it the nickname of ‘the twisted tower of Bremen’.