Since 1991, Experimentarium has stimulated the minds of school children and adult visitors alike through play and experimentation with science, in the historic setting of a former bottling plant for the Tuborg brewery. Originally dating from the 1880s, the building has now undergone an extensive renovation and upgrade to ensure it can continue to offer a world-class visitor experience for many years to come.
The existing 15,610m2 building has been sensitively updated and modernized, and two more floors have been added, increasing the space by 9,690m2. As a result, Experimentarium can welcome many more visitors, with new facilities including a rooftop exhibition space, cafe and terrace. WSP provided a range of engineering services throughout the project, from mapping potentially hazardous substances and structural remediation, to advising on energy optimization and adaptation to climate change.
Banner & Photo Credit: David Trood
The client wanted to create a landmark building, and the stand-out feature is a huge, floating staircase in the shape of a double-helix, echoing the structure of a molecule of DNA. Weighing 160 tonnes and clad in shimmering copper, it encourages people to wander, creating a connection and a space for reflection between the different floors.
The new levels are clad in a perforated aluminium facade, containing 50% recycled content. The pattern is inspired by the physics of how fluids move as they encounter resistance, and was developed through a close collaboration between the Experimentarium and the advisory team. The original brickwork has been retained and repaired, with the temporary removal and reinstatement of around one third, with the consent of the municipality, to allow the foundations to be strengthened.
PHOTO CREDIT: DAVID TROOD
The design, construction and installation phases were all modelled digitally, and the project team used a common platform for clarifications, supervision and review. “This was a great advantage for the floor-high cantilevered and continuous steel girders, as they could be coordinated and projected in 3D,” says WSP technical director Martin Ledgaard-Sørensen. “All remarks for inspection and defect review were created via an app with pictures as well as by markings on floor plans, which meant that all parties saved time and it was easy to get an overview at any stage.” The information in the model will also be used to inform the operation and maintenance of the building in future, he adds.
Sustainability and flexibility were fundamental parts of the brief, to ensure that the Experimentarium can continue to evolve in response to the needs of its visitors and a changing world. The building is designed to use as little energy as possible, with its needs partly met by photovoltaic cells on its roof, and the toilets are flushed using collected rainwater. Meanwhile, minimizing the number of supporting columns and walls leaves the internal layouts free to adapt to whatever the future holds.