World’s first hybrid Science Dome opens at the experimenta

The largest Science Centre in Germany – the experimenta in Heilbronn – opened its doors to the public after 20 months of reconstruction and expansion works.

At the heart of the new building, which is located on an island in the Neckar River, is a technical novelty, the experimenta Science Dome. The implemented hybrid dome solution, combining a stage setting and a dome theatre with a rotating platform is a unique, patented concept developed by Austrian audio-visual (AV) system integrator Kraftwerk Living Technologies featuring countless use cases. Now the world’s first Science Dome has been completed and the new experimenta ceremoniously opened, on time for the Bundesgartenschau, a biennial federal horticulture show, which takes place in Heilbronn from April to October 2019.

Within the project scope, Kraftwerk LT was assigned as general contractor of the Science Dome, responsible for the technical design and detailed planning, the implementation, programming and commissioning of the high-quality AV solutions including show control as well as everything else needed in the unique venue from the carpet to the seats. The hybrid dome theatre solution has room for 150 people and features a rotating auditorium as the centrepiece. There are two operating modes: event and dome mode. In the event mode, a stage area of 170 m2 as well as a screen area featuring the latest in stage technology is available for lectures, digital cinema performances or theatre and music productions. In the dome operation, however, a total projection area of 726 m2 can be used for 3D full-dome and planetarium shows. With the audience being involved in the rotation, experiencing the transition from the stage to the dome, this makes room for spectacular show concepts and is unique worldwide.


The Beginnings

Back in 2012, experimenta approached Kraftwerk LT looking for ideas for a completely new venue as part of the extension of the Science Centre. What was first an idea for a 4D theatre soon transformed into a planetarium. Once the experts from Wels were brought into the discussion, the idea soon developed into a multi-purpose full-dome space, which was the only way to tick all the boxes while ensuring the limited footprint on which to deliver them. While Kraftwerk LT has been an expert on delivering stages and domes for many years, combining the two was a first. With a great outcome: an attraction that is now the heart of the new experimenta and showcasing a broad range of technologies to edutain people.

“There are many factors that play into the successful outcome of a project. A visionary client, a great idea, a reliable project team and much more. There is however a single factor that differentiates a good project from a spectacular one and that is passion. Passion for the idea, passion for innovation and quality, passion for the technology – a passion that everyone involved shares. And that was the case here from start to finish and is ultimately what led to the incredible outcome,” states Manfred Meier, Founder and CEO at Kraftwerk LT.


Technical Highlights

  • The 2D/3D projection dome has a total diameter of 21.5 m and is a free-hanging aluminum construction
  • The total area of the dome is played in 3D by twelve 4K projection channels, resulting in a resolution of 8K x 8K and razor-sharp images
  • The six high-performance RGB laser projectors are equipped with laser light sources and allow exceptional brightness and image intensity, which is above the cinema standard due to the increased color space and the HDR contrast
  • The Science Dome can be used as a planetarium – a Zeiss star projector is part of the Science Dome equipment and integrated in dome mode with the digital projection
  • State-of-the-art immersive 3D audio technology
  • Integrated special effects such as show laser, holographic screen, water, fog and wind, as well as spectacular lightning discharges via several Tesla coils
  • The stage features state-of-the-art stage equipment


The new experimenta

The unique and spectacular world of knowledge and experience covers an area of 25,000 m2 housing approximately 275 interactive exhibits, four creative studios, nine laboratories, an observatory and the unique Science Dome with various science shows. The privately funded science centre targets guests from 4 to 99 years old and will certainly excite and edutain anyone who is eager to learn and experiment.

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