Amethyst, by OMA

Rem Koolhaas/OMA - Science Center, Hamburg
OMA/Rem Koolhaas - Science Center, Hamburg (Copyright OMA)

Amethyst
Amethyst

The new Science Center in Hamburg designed by Rem Koolhaas/OMA looks just like an amethyst. As Rem Koolhaas despises the explicit use of iconography in architectural design, the amethyst analogy is not deliberately meant. The Science Center measures 14.000 square meters and features an aquarium, an academic theater, and probably also a planetarium.

Rem Koolhaas/OMA - Science Center, Hamburg
3deluxe - Interior (Copyright 3deluxe)

Rem Koolhaas/OMA - Science Center, Hamburg
3deluxe - Interior (Copyright 3deluxe)

The city of Hamburg in northern Germany is redeveloping its docklands into a mixed-use high-density neighborhood. The centerpiece of this HafenCity is being privately developed by the Dutch combination of ING Real Estate, SNS Property Finance and Gross & Partner. Last December the conceptual design for the area, by Rem Koolhaas/OMA and Erick van Egeraat/EEA, has been presented to the public.

HafenCity, Hamburg
HafenCity, Hamburg

Ueberseequartier, HafenCity Hamburg
Ueberseequartier, HafenCity, Hamburg

In the urban design the Science Center is counter-parted by a similar sized building that features a hotel and cruise terminal. Originally the Science Center and Cruise Terminal were designed as twins; two halves of a sphere – the one standing up, the other one laying down. A meteorite broken in half. The Magdenburg Hemi-spheres, finally parted.

Ueberseequartier, HafenCity Hamburg
Ueberseequartier, HafenCity Hamburg

The redesigned Cruise Terminal however has a more modest, traditional design, so one amethyst remains.

Ueberseequartier, HafenCity Hamburg
Ueberseequartier, HafenCity, Hamburg

The concept of encircling a central void with program is echoed in the work of ex-OMA architects MVRDV, for instance in the pop podium The Effenaar, in Eindhoven. 

MVRDV - De Effenaar, Eindhoven
MVRDV - De Effenaar, Eindhoven (Copyright MVRDV)

Formally the Science Center reminded me of a design by Rem Koolhaas/OMA for a skyscraper that was presented in the Content Exhibition. The skyscraper also featured a contrasting smooth outer skin, and a pixilated open core.

Rem Koolhaas/OMA - Design for a skyscraper at the 'Content' Exhibition (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)
OMA/Rem Koolhaas - Design for a skyscraper for Japan at the ’Content’ Exhbition
in the Kunsthal in Rotterdam (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)

The obsession for pixels by Rem Koolhaas, that the entry for the Gazprom competition showed again, seems to go back a while, and is for instance also apparent in the Beijing Books Building.

In the city of Hamburg, where the new architecture…

Speicherstadt, Hamburg (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)
Speicherstadt, Hamburg (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)

… sometimes looks just like the existing architecture…

Speicherstadt, Hamburg (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)
Speicherstadt, Hamburg (Photographer: Michiel van Raaij)

… the Science Center by OMA will stand out, together with the amazing, and devastatingly beautiful, Elbphilharmonie by Herzog & de Meuron. 

A short film of the Ueberseequartier can be viewed here.

Related: Manhattan Bar Chart, by OMA, Blocks, by Rex, Bookcase, by OMA.

The project is added to the Architects, and Representation pages.


About this entry