Zaha Hadid Architects Phaeno Science Centre project records

Zaha Hadid Architects Phaeno Science Centre project records

Part of


  • Zaha Hadid Architects (archive creator)
  • Zaha Hadid Architects (architectural firm)
  • City of Wolfsburg (client)
  • Zaha Hadid (architect)
  • Markus Dochantschi (director)
  • Patrik Schumacher (director)
  • Sara Klomps (project architect)
  • Christos Passas (project architect)
  • Günter Barczik (assistant architect)
  • Kenneth Bostock (assistant architect)
  • Eddie Can (assistant architect)
  • Lyda Charsouli (assistant architect)
  • Chris Dopheide (assistant architect)
  • Gernot Finselbach (assistant architect)
  • Silvia Forlati (assistant architect)
  • Jan Hubener (assistant architect)
  • Helmut Kinzler (assistant architect)
  • Enrico Kleinke (assistant architect)
  • Barbara Kruit (assistant architect)
  • Stanley Lau (assistant architect)
  • Markus Liermann (assistant architect)
  • Niki Neerpasch (assistant architect)
  • Yoash Oster (assistant architect)
  • David Salazar (assistant architect)
  • Constanze Stinnes (assistant architect)
  • Caroline Voet (assistant architect)
  • Janne Westermann (assistant architect)
  • Liam Young (assistant architect)
  • Mayer Baehrle (consulting architectural firm)
  • Ansel Associates (exhibition designer)
  • Fahlke & Dettmer (lighting designer)
  • Office for Visual Interaction (lighting designer)
  • Adams Kara Taylor (Firm) (structural engineering firm)
  • Tokarz Freirichs Leipold (structural engineering firm)
  • Buro Happold (mechanical engineering firm)
  • NEK (mechanical engineering firm)
  • Hanscomb GmbH (quantity surveyors)


Zaha Hadid Architects Phaeno Science Centre project records

Dates of creation

1996 - 2015


  • archives

Level of archival description


Extent and Medium

  • Approximately 43,800 digital files (86.6 GB)

Scope and Content

The Zaha Hadid Architects Phaeno Science Centre project records, 1996-2015, consist of approximately 43,800 digital files that document the design and construction of an interactive science museum in Wolfsburg, Germany. Materials related to presentations, publications, events, and the press are also represented. The majority of the records date from 2000 to 2006.

In January 2000, the City of Wolfsburg issued an open competition to build a science centre on vacant public land. The site was set as the endpoint of a chain of important cultural buildings, as well as being a connecting link to the north bank of the Mittelland Kanal and Volkswagen AutoStadt. Zaha Hadid Architects’ (ZHA) winning proposal represented a design that was capable of affiliating urban processes with structural systems.

Completed in 2005 with consulting engineers Adams Kara Taylor (AKT), the building comprises three levels: a 15,000 square meter underground parking garage, a public landscape on the ground level, and a raised 12,000 square meter exhibition space. The exhibition space is lifted, creating an artificial topography at the ground level that allows the surroundings to filter through and intersect the building. The building is elevated by ten supporting conical shapes that appear as funnels both protruding from and extending into the volume above. These funnels create space for internal circulation, light wells, and other necessary functions, while also framing an outdoor plaza.

Using the parameters of landscape architecture as an organizational methodology in combination with digital tools, ZHA was able to design one of the largest site-cast concrete structures ever made using handmade formwork and self-compacting concrete. The oblique volumes, resolved through 3D Max, Rhinoceros, Microstation, and AutoCAD, resulted in the use of 2D drawings and 3D models to communicate the relationships between different geometries. AKT also worked extensively in BIM formats, though these materials are not represented in the collection.

Materials in this fonds are largely in CAD formats, chiefly Hewlett Packard Vector Graphic plotter files and AutoCAD drawings, though EPS, STL, 3DM, 3D Studio, Adobe InDesign, and IGES formats are also represented. The fonds also includes a large number of textual documents, including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Adobe PDF, and Outlook email message formats, as well as images, largely in JPEG, EXIF, and TIFF formats.

These files represent four major activities undertaken by ZHA and their various consultants: design, presentation, construction, and publicity (including publications, press, and events).

Reference Number


Physical Description

This fonds contains a number of born-digital files in CAD and 3D modeling formats. Due to the complex and often proprietary nature of CAD formats, proper rendering and use of these files may require highly specific software. CCA’s dedicated Study Room CAD workstation is loaded with a wide but incomplete range of such software. For further information about services and software available, please contact Collection Reference (ref@cca.qc.ca) and ask to speak with the Digital Archivist.


This fonds is arranged into four series:

Series 1. Design files

Series 2. Presentation files

Series 3. Construction working files and related correspondence

Series 4. Press, publications and events

Administrative history

Zaha Hadid Architects is a London-based architectural firm founded by Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid in 1980. Since Hadid’s passing in 2016, the firm has been led by Patrik Schumacher.

Among Zaha Hadid Architects’ most well-known works are the 59 Eaton Place (London, 1982); Vitra Fire Station (Weil am Rhein, 1993); Cardiff Bay Opera House (Cardiff, unbuilt, 1994); the Mind Zone at the Millennium Dome (London, 1999); Bergisel Ski Jump (Innsbruck, 2002); the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art (Cincinnati, 2003); BMW Central Building (Leipzig, 2005); the Phaeno Science Centre (Wolfsburg, 2005); Guangzhou Opera House (Guangzhou, 2010); the London Aquatics Center (London, 2011); and Al Wakrah Stadium (Al-Wakrah, 2018).

Zaha Hadid Architects has received many of architecture’s highest honors during the firm’s decades of practice. Particularly of note, Zaha Hadid won both the Pritzker Prize (2004) and the RIBA Royal Gold Medal (2016), the first female architect to win either prize.

Conditions governing access

  • Access by appointment only.

Conditions governing reproduction

  • Copyright is retained by the donor, the Zaha Hadid Foundation. Reproductions for publication must be approved by the donor. For copyright information or permission to reproduce material from the fonds, please contact the CCA (reproductions@cca.qc.ca).

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

  • Gift of Zaha Hadid Foundation, 20 January 2016.

Custodial history

The digital files were copied from the firm’s servers in London and sent to CCA on an external hard drive.

These records were acquired by CCA as part of the Archaeology of the Digital project. Selected items were displayed in the show Archaeology of the Digital: Complexity and Convention, May-October 2016.

Archivist's note

  • A single-level record for this archive was created by Digital Archivist Tim Walsh in July 2016. Processing, arrangement, and description were completed by Digital Processing Archivist Stefana Breitwieser from February to May 2018. CCA staff member Kai Woolner-Pratt also assisted with the description and appraisal of German-language materials in May 2018.

Credit line

When citing the collection as a whole, use the citation:
Zaha Hadid Architects Phaeno Science Centre project records,
Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal.
When citing specific collection material, please refer to the object’s specific credit line.

Language of material

English, German

Related units of description

  • Gregory, Rob. “Key Contemporary Buildings : Plans, Sections, and Elevations.” (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2008). Jodidio, Phillip. “Hadid: Zaha Hadid complete works, 1979-2009.” (Hong Kong: Taschen, 2009). Lynn, Greg. “Archeology of the Digital 25: Zaha Hadid, Phaeno Science Centre.” (Montreal: Canadian Centre for Architecture, 2018). Porter, Mark. “Great Modern Buildings.” (London: Guardian, 2009)

General note

  • This fonds required some initial preprocessing. The command line tool detox was used to ensure standard file naming conventions. All zip files were unzipped through the command line and moved into a folder with the title of the zip file; the original zip files were deleted. The Sara Klomps email archives in Series 3 were processed separately using special email processing software, called ePADD. See file-level description for additional information.

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