by Sara Costi
The Experimenta Science Centre extension, runner-up in the Shopping and Business Centres category of the Grand Prix international architecture contest, was designed by Sauerbruch Hutton and is located in Heilbronn, an island on river Neckar, in Germany.
The centre covers an area of 17,720 sq.m and was conceived as a helicoidal sequence of steel and glass spaces that blend the interiors with the surrounding landscape. This super-modern complex has many striking features, and its beautiful flooring is one of them. Porcelain stoneware pentagons (60x60 cm) from the Architecture collection in Cool Grey, Medium Grey, and Dark Grey create a harmonious geometric pattern consistent with the entire project’s volumetric dynamism.
After crossing the spacious foyer, visitors can move up along the helix through four floors of themed exhibition spaces focusing on science and technology. Younger visitors will love the interactive multimedia installations that allow them to apply what they’ve just learnt. The themed areas on each floor are laid out in a staggered horseshoe pattern around the building’s core, where the interactive stations are located. Finally, continuing along the helix, you get to a beautiful panoramic terrace overlooking the entire Neckar valley and the rooftop planetarium and auditorium.
Moving downwards to the basement, you’ll find the 360° Science Dome theatre and spaces for temporary exhibitions. The Experimenta Science Centre makes learning about science and technology fun and easy, and this educational purpose is reinforced by the experimental approach of its architecture.
Architecture – Casalgrande Padana’s collection of full-body vitrified porcelain stoneware tiles used for the centre’s flooring – stands out for its wide range of elegant neutral colours. Available with a natural or polished finish, these tiles are perfect for the floors and walls of contemporary, minimalist, or industrial chic projects, both indoors and out.
Casalgrande Padana porcelain stoneware tiles are made solely with natural raw materials. They are durable, non-absorbent, and don’t fear temperature fluctuations, frost, and weather agents. Moreover, they never warp, and their extraordinary mechanical strength makes them maintain their characteristics and colours unchanged over time. But there’s more. They are UV-resistant and, thanks to the Bios Antibacterial® technology (available upon request), they are also antibacterial and can even prevent mould, yeasts, and odours in any setting. In addition, façade cladding tiles can come with the Bios Self-Cleaning® treatment (also available upon request). In the presence of sunlight, this technology triggers a reaction that reduces bacteria and air pollutants and breaks down dirt deposits. These deposits are then washed away by rainwater, thanks to the superhydrophilicity of the ceramic surface.