Automatic doors in the new experimenta

Newly opened in April 2019, the experimenta Science Center focuses on learning, research and experimentation, so automatic doors by GEZE were a natural inclusion. The futuristic architecture of the new building and the constant high numbers of visitors demand automatic sliding doors and glass swing doors with very special characteristics. And GEZE has delivered, with its flexible series programme and professional skill to make even a specific swing door solution quite simple. The automatic swing and sliding doors fit perfectly into the glass façade and the transparent interior. They support accessibility and safety in a building worth living in.

Automatic sliding door systems in spectacular architecture

GEZE automatic doors in the experimenta Science Center

GEZE automatic doors in the experimenta Science Center © Jürgen Pollak / GEZE GmbH

The experimenta’s exciting programme encourages a love of knowledge and delight in experimenting. Even the architecture of the new building is experimental. The six floors are twisted against each other as a 'spatial spiral' - a transparent structure with five façade sides each. They are made completely of glass.

Glass sliding doors create visual consistency

The glass façade at the main entrance features an automatic sliding door system as an aesthetic feature that is at the same time discreet enough not to interrupt the consistent glass design. GEZE made its contribution with an innovative automatic sliding door with integrated all-glass leaves (IGG). The door profiles are not visible on the glass surface, as they can be found between the panes. Neither does the door drive interrupt the discreet design. The Slimdrive SL NT IGG drive is only 7 cm high and easily disappears into the glass façade.

Door aesthetics combined with energy efficiency

Further benefits of the Slimdrive SL NT IGG sliding door system include energy efficiency and the prevention of heat loss in the atrium.  The plastic frame, invisibly integrated between two flush panes and reinforced with glass fibres, enables thermal separation of the door profiles. This means that the large door leaves contribute to thermal insulation at the façade entrance, and subsequently, to climate protection as well.

Sliding doors ensure accessibility and safety

The experimenta expects to welcome 250,000 visitors a year, even more than for the previous successful exhibition. When schools, groups and families want to enter and exit the new building conveniently, accessibly and quickly, the doors of the main entrance must endure genuine stress tests. Automatic sliding door systems, with the tried-and-tested door drives from the Slimdrive series, are designed for permanent opening and closing operation: reliably, gently and quietly.

Where large groups of people come together, safety is the top priority. The large and wide sliding doors meet the highest safety standards for persons. Equipped with the Slimdrive SL NT-FR drive variant for emergency exits, the building can be exited quickly and accessibly in the event of danger.

For the best automatic doors right from the start

Four years of planning and construction lie behind the new experimenta, creating an extended offer which looks even further to the future. During the planning of the building, project experts from GEZE became involved with the project from an early stage. With their professional skills and experience in architecturally challenging, highly frequented exhibition buildings, they were able to develop ideas from the beginning, work on suggestions for all possible door solutions, and subsequently create an efficient network for exchanges between architects, specialist planners and all parties involved in the construction. This led to the realisation of aesthetically pleasing automatic doors that also meet the structural and safety requirements of door usage.

Automatic swing doors are multi-functional and visually uniform

© Jürgen Pollak / GEZE GmbH

Uniform design, ease of access and functionality are among the most important demands for the large number of automatic swing doors in different designs in the spatial spiral, which lead to the exhibition rooms and creative studios.

The highlight and all-round talent of the GEZE swing door drive portfolio for swing doors offers a uniform appearance combined with different functionalities. Powerturn door drives have a slim design (7 cm drive height, exactly the same as the Slimdrive drives for sliding doors), offer a variety of functions, and can be integrated into a wide variety of door systems. They also open large and heavy doors soundlessly and safely - fully automatic, by push button or manually. Even children can open the sometimes heavier fire protection doors easily by hand thank to the Smart swing function as opening assistance.

GEZE solution expertise for fire protection doors with individual functionality

© Jürgen Pollak / GEZE GmbH

Thanks to the opportunities that GEZE is naturally able to offer when developing and designing door systems, fire protection doors have become a reality, with Powerturn drives with a very special functionality. For example, in escape route stairwells, currentless, safe closing of doors in the event of a fire (this is stipulated by strict fire protection regulations!) must be combined with accessible door opening.

However, one of the resulting challenges was that the air pressure caused in the event of a fire for the safe extraction of smoke makes it more difficult for people escaping to manually open the doors. As a solution, the doors were automated by installing Powerturn door drives. With a special control unit developed by GEZE, the doors open automatically with the push of a button, even in the event of a fire, and close again safely after use.

Aesthetic Hold-open systems

Hold-open systems

Hold-open systems with discreet floor springs between the exhibition areas to hold open fire protection doors until they close automatically in the event of a fire. © Jürgen Pollak / GEZE GmbH

The experimenta Science Center: 'Knowledge creates experience'

It is the largest science centre in Germany. Children, youngsters, schools and families gain a better understanding of science and technology in a unique world of scientific adventure covering a total area of 25,000 m2.

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The worlds of experimenta

A highlight in the Erlebniswelten (Worlds of Experience) is the Science Dome, with a 700 m2 360° domed screen and a revolving auditorium. Viewers travel through space in 3D, or are amazed by scientific phenomena in show formats. The observatory and powerful telescopes are located on the roof terrace.

In the Entdeckerwelten (Worlds of Discovery), there are 275 interactive stations covering four main themes, on four levels. These explore small, everyday things, which often conceal something greater. The invisible is made visible.

  • The StoffWechsel (materials interaction) area looks at the nature of the materials and elements which surround us. For example, what happens to a car when it crashes into an obstacle?
  • In KopfSachen (Mind Matters), visitors discover the complex and varied way in which people perceive and move around in the world.
  • On the WeltBlick (World View) floor, you can become a researcher yourself. Wander through micro worlds or investigate live satellite data, and learn how nature acts as a model for scientists when they develop something new.
  • The ForscherLand (Researcher Land) is a unique adventure playground where you can experiment, tinker around and design. In a water landscape, children can test how an interlocking door system works, and much more.

The Forscherwelten (Researcher World) in the completely renovated building offers school classes and groups state-of-the-art laboratories, an experimental kitchen, the North Württemberg student research centre and a range of courses for different age groups. In the Maker Space, young creatives will find the space and technical equipment to develop and implement ideas.

GEZE in the experimenta in Heilbronn

GEZE products in the experimenta Science Center

  • Automatic linear sliding door system with Slimdrive SL NT IGG drives for sliding door systems with integrated all-glass leaves (IGG)
  • 30 automatic swing door systems with Powerturn drives, including for fire and smoke protection doors with integrated smoke switch and GC 338 sensor strips or GC 342 laser scanners
  • 10 TZ 320 escape door control units for monitoring all opening and closing operations, and release of emergency exits in the event of danger
  • 15 hold-open systems to hold fire protection doors open until they close automatically in the event of a fire TS 550 IS floor springs, RSZ6 smoke switch control units for GEZE hold-open devices and GEZE hold-open magnets
  • Manual fire protection doors: various door closers from the Boxer series integrated into the door leaf and more door closers from the TS 5000 series