Science centre, Wels
WELS (AT) - Wels, with a population of just under 60,000 and located in Upper Austria, has been positioning itself since a couple years ago as a 'City of Energy' with, for instance, institutes for research and development, in addition to several exemplary buildings in the region, such as 'God's power station' - the first passive-standard church, St. Franziskus.
The science centre, 'Welios', is one of the latest fascinating projects from the 'City of Energy' that gives the visitors an understanding of the subject. A EU-wide competition in 2009 was decided in favour of archinauten, from Linz.
Welios is situated in the 'Volksgarten' (public garden) and connects the urban areas of the fairgrounds and the historic city centre. Its architecturally striking design sets an important urban mark. The guiding idea of 'energy' gives distinction to the building, and not only in terms of low-energy construction. Following a conceptual idea, the massive X-shaped building with a hard shell is 'torn' by its inner energy.
The entrance ramp leads under an extensively projecting roof to the central hall with access to the restaurant and the shop. The interior atrium reaches up to the slab and is illuminated from above. In variable combination with the adjacent rooms it can be used for different events. Deeply split facades allow views into the thematic spaces and let daylight fall into the rooms. The possibility of flexible arrangements of the exhibition spaces enables an economic management of space. Outside exhibition areas can be reached through the foyer.
A shimmering white expanded metal facade covers the entire building. Glass walls are limited to the 'fractured areas'. Window openings blur behind the metal curtain. LED light strips behind steel bands ('force lines') give the facade a variable design ranging from a slight shimmer to dynamic effects.
The construction of the building provides the basis for an intelligent energy concept achieved in conjunction with the ongoing monitoring of energy balance through the entire planning and construction process.
Sunday | 11 December | 2011 | Austria | Ursula Haberle