The Experimentarium interactive museum in
Hellerup, Copenhagen, is expected to give around
500,000 visitors a year the opportunity to experience
sustainable technologies, beginning with its exterior,
a facade made partly of recycled lager cans.
The new building extended and restructured one
that opened on the site in 1991. The building now
takes the form of stacked boxes. These are offset
from the original brick base and have large expanses
of glass clad with a lightweight facade of perforated
The variation of retracted and cantilevering boxes
divides the volume into smaller clusters, which
allows the relatively long building to interact with
its surroundings. The redesign mixes existing
functions with new ones, adding floors and cutting
the building across, in two places, to insert atriums
with sculptural staircases.
The aluminium panels are perforated by organic
patterns based on fluid dynamics, which on the one
hand link science and architecture, and on the other
allow daylight in. Large glass sections form ‘eyes’ on
to the Experimentarium, in a manner the architect
describes as akin to rubato, the expressive shaping of
music by means of slight shifts and changes of tempo.
Its design has won architect CEBRA awards including
the Aluminium Byggepris (Aluminium Prize) from
the Danish Construction Association.
The interior design makes use of reflection and
shade. The interior walls of the large atrium are made
of polished stainless steel, for example. The two
staircases, the 100-m long, copper-clad Helix staircase
and the Vektor staircase, use reflection differently,
however. The Helix staircase greets guests at the main
entrance and spirals up four floors. It reflects on to
the surrounding space, while the Vektor staircase
acts more passively. The Helix staircase ‘ensures a
good internal flow and creates coherence between the
floors. At the same time, it substantiates the building’s
scientific focus,’ says CEBRA founder Kolja Nielsen.
The new Experimentarium has a specular, copper-clad staircase
designed to reflect natural light throughout the building