A building on the edge - the building ground
The ground under darmstadtium is unusual. The Rhine Valley Fault passes right through Darmstadt, meaning that the eastern part of the town is on the rock of the Odenwald region, while the western part is on the sand of the Rhine plain. This edge, which is invisible on the surface, moves in a northeasterly direction through the town and also through the area on which darmstadtium is built. It had to be ensured that the building complex would not sag at certain points, develop cracks or otherwise sustain damage. The call for tender of the architecture competition had already made reference to the particularities of the ground under the site.
Thanks to some sophisticated building design, the building is on very steady ground. Posts were driven into the softer areas of ground and a foundation plate – one of the largest such plates that had been laid in Hesse at that time – was cast. The one-metre-thick foundation bears the weight of the science and congress centre.
The subterranean channel under the building is not only used to cool and heat the building, but also provides stability.
The special conditions remain interesting for scientific study. For this reason, a geodesic measuring station was set up under ground. It has already measured minimal shifts and movement.