In this publication Greg Lynn, Christos Passas, and Patrik Schumacher discuss Zaha Hadid Architects’ Phaeno Science Centre, a project that combined the organizational parameters of landscape architecture with digital tools of representation and fabrication to build one of the largest structures ever cast with handmade formwork and self-compacting concrete.
Located in Wolfsburg, Germany, the interactive museum was built to emphasize the importance of the Volkswagen headquarters to the city’s development. The site that was chosen by the municipality is part of a network of cultural buildings—by Alvar Aalto, Hans Scharoun, and Schweger Architekten—located along the canal and railway that separate the city’s residential and industrial zones. Zaha Hadid Architects won the open competition for the project with a design proposal that was capable of affiliating urban processes with structural systems. The exhibition space is lifted, creating an artificial topography at the ground level that allows the surroundings—pedestrian and vehicular flows of circulation—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. The oblique volumes, resolved through 3D Max and AutoCAD, resulted in an exponential number of 2D drawings—like unfolded plans for conical shapes—required to communicate the relationships between different geometries. The consulting engineers, Adams Kara Taylor (AKT), used complex element analysis and BIM to visualize and integrate behaviours across the entire building rather than in isolated parts, such that the structure acts as a single entity of interdependent systems.
As part of the multi-year research, acquisition, and exhibition project Archaeology of the Digital, the CCA launched a digital publication series in 2014 consisting of small monographs of each of the twenty-five projects chosen by curator Greg Lynn for their contributions to the foundations of digital architecture. The ePubs are illustrated with photos, drawings, renderings, videos, PDFs, and interactive 3D models from the digital collection of the CCA.
Edited by Greg Lynn
Graphic design and development by Linked by Air
Available on iTunes
Published with the generous support of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts