Idea, planning and construction
There are many faces behind the construction – leading forces from the Technical University of Darmstadt, the city of Darmstadt and from politics. Together they drew up plans and made sure that a meeting point for science, business and culture would develop in the middle of the Rhine-Main region.
There were a few things to take into consideration. How could a science and conference centre in Darmstadt fulfil its functions while also fitting in optimally with the historical buildings in its surroundings such as the castle and Mollerbau? Before the architectural competition took place, it was clear that this question represented a challenge. The aim was to produce architectural drafts that would not destroy the surroundings. There were also requirements with regard to strengthening Darmstadt’s self-presentation by rearranging the city architecture.
The location within the city was also open to begin with – requirements for the surroundings, the space needed and the parking spaces first had to be worked out. A decision regarding the location was ultimately made based on the favourable location and the space required, which could not be found anywhere else.
The architectural competition was opened for entries in September 2000. Among the participants were many renowned national and international architectural offices, which was an indication of how seriously the competition was taken. In April 2001, the jury completed its work by awarding four equal prizes. The designs of the four architects selected were presented to the public in the Centralstation.
After the four tenders were fine-tuned with more specific details, cost estimates and the nomination of partner offices, the decisive meeting took place in June 2001. Under the management of planning head Hans-Jürgen Braun, the 13 voting head assessors from the first and second phases of the competition decided on the design by Talik Chalabi. The features in the design’s favour were its character as a beacon, the good marketing possibilities and its specific architectural statements. The functionality and selection of partner offices were also persuasive. Feedback from the public was also good, and this meant that the idiosyncratic and futuristic building could be created.
The foundation stone was laid with prominent guests from the worlds of politics, science, business and culture on 22 April, 2015. This was also the moment when darmstadtium got its name.