Project: Paläon—New research and experience centre Schöningen, Germany
Architect: Holzer Kobler Architekturen Berlin, Zürich pbr AG and Topotek1-landscape architecture
Fabricator: HMF, Hübener + Möws, Jerchel, Germany
Year of Construction: 2013
Product: ALUCOBOND® naturAL Reflect Photos: Jan Bitter
Located at the edge of the town of Schöningen and its open-cast lignite mine, lies the site of a remarkable, world-famous Stone-Age find: the Schöningen Spears – the oldest ever hunting weapons used by man. It is now also home to Paläon, a new and emblematic research and experience centre, visible from far around. The building conveys the location’s importance as an archaeological site by rising above the natural topography like layered earth. Its futuristic shape stems from the horizontal landscape; and indeed, the building’s volume, ground plan and section are defined by references to the landscape and lines of sight. The slightly offset contours create subtly different internal and external spaces. Designed with precision and clad with reflective ALUCOBOND®, the volume mirrors the landscape. The large, deeply incised window openings are reminiscent of shadows on the building and underscore the expressive dynamism of the architecture. These same windows frame views of the nearby woods and wild horses and, further afield, the mine and the site of the find. The extended axes of the building stretch out like linear tracks into the landscape, linking up, synapse-like, with the system of paths in the surrounding parklands.