Schöningen Spears Research and Experience Centre

Topotek 1: The Schöningen Spears are the oldest preserved hunting weapons in the world, discovered in Schöningen, near Hannover, Germany. The design for the Research and Experience Centre draws from the unique prehistoric and archaeological significance of the site. The landscape design for the centre alternates two landscape typologies from the prehistoric interglacial cycle: open, airy meadows in the East and dense forests in the west. The meadows encompass a large pasture for a small herd of wild horses that recall the native horses which populated the area, and were hunted over 300 000 years ago. New forested areas border the site towards the road, leaving the entrance of the building open while protecting the excavation site. The research and interpretation centre is imbedded in the open meadow, standing prominently on top of a slight hill.

A zigzagging path network extends from the jagged form language of the building and connects the visitors to special lookout points and archaeological attractions, as well as the parking lot and the building. The path system is suspended over the landscape, disconnecting the visitor from the prehistoric landscape while providing opportunity for interpretive engagement with the archaeology. Most prominently, a bridge path leads away from the museum and looks over the wild horse enclosure, allowing visitors to engage with the animals through observation. The interpreted prehistoric landscape resonates with the modern aesthetics of the buildings; its polished facade reflects the landscape around, reinforcing the vast prehistoric conditions of the landscape.

Landscape Architecture: Topotek 1
Location: Schöningen, Germany
Client: City of Schöningen
Year of planning: 2010 – 2013
Year of completion: 2013
Size in sqm: 240.000
Collaboration Architect: Holzer Kobler Architekten, Zurich, Switzerland
Commission Type: Competition 1st prize

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