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S U S TA I N A B L E C O N S T R U C T I O N s o l u t i o n s

Phaeno Science Centre in Wolfsburg, Germany

FOAMGLAS interior insulation

Architects: Zaha Hadid, London Mayer-Bhrle, Lrrach

Phaeno building with foot bridge connecting to the north bank of the Mittelland Kanal, the Volkswagen plant and Autostadt, the VW theme park. Photo Klaus Reichardt The name of the Phaeno conceals an experimental world under the heading of science and technology. The avant-garde architectural design of the building by London architect Zaha Hadid moves away from conventional categories and is cast like a sculpture in the urban setting. Use of FOAMGLAS cellular glass as interior wall insulation is not to be considered as mere experiment it is the recipe for success in high standard thermal insulation.

Phno -


First sketch of the Phaeno Science Centre by Zaha Hadid

Learning by doing - this slogan by Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the scout movement was originally characterising the social-educational principles of the group and has internationally become a familiar quotation. It has meanwhile become a valuable concept in the scientific and research world, where immediate results are claimed. Technological know-how and the ability to invent and do something can best be trained, when apparently difficult physical and technical principles can be discovered hands-on. This concept of learning is the current approach of new Science Centres that are opened all over the world with growing success. The first Science Centre, Exploratorium, initiated by Frank Oppenheimer as a hands-on museum of science, art and human perception, was opened in 1969 in San Francisco. The desire to discover new things and the fascination with the real phenomenon is intended to open up for people of all ages a new type of experience that is clearly distinct from the classical museum. Visitors are invited to touch the exhibits, to make their own experiments and learn

about them. It goes without saying that school classes like to have their Physics lessons in Science Centres where they can investigate and practically experiment on the phenomenon. The Phaeno building in Wolfsburg interpreted as a turbulent landscape is a fine attraction that offers its visitors an adventureland with 250 experimental stations.

he diverse world of shapes of the Phaeno pushes the boundaries of what is possible today. As the largest building in Europe to have been constructed in Self-Compacting Concrete. The impressive structure of the building towers high above the street. Various conical structures resembling truncated cones raise the experimental hall above the public space at ground level. The building is developed as a spatial continuum that produces the effect of a drifting, almost imperceptible transition from outside to inside. Inside, the cones become craters; there is no threshold, no clearly defined boundary. Visitors arriving by train and stepping outside the rather provincial station are overwhelmed by the artistic topography of the building that seams to hover over a cushion of air.

A building between futuristic sculpture and visual event

Zaha Hadid is indisputably one of the greatest masters of contemporary architecture.

he winning entry of the 2000 competition for the new Science Centre in Wolfsburg, Germany, was the spectacular urban landscape architecture of London architect Zaha Hadid. For the planning and execution of the Phaeno, Zaha Hadid founded a team with the architects Mayer-Bhrle from Lrrach (D) and within 4 years the building was constructed. The German office had already proved itself as a most competent partner for unusual projects and their tenacity to find the best technical solutions. Already in 1999, the regional garden exhibition pavilion in Weil am Rhein made up for their reputation.

Photo Mayer-Bhrle 10 conical structures support and penetrate into the building. They raise the experimental hall at a level 7.5 m and open the area below it as a new urban space.


Public building passage - a town within a town with access at ground level

The concrete cones create an almost cave-like atmosphere for the passer-by at ground level. Spectacularly sloping walls and directed views shape way through the turbulent hilly landscape. The building is very easy to access with several most equal entrances from different directions. The transition from outside to inside is most imperceptible. Physical openness and the opportunities for communication set a clear signal. The public building passage is display window of the Phaeno Science Centre with the different cones housing a shop, cafs and restaurants, the science theatre, the ideas forum, a kiosk etc. This emerging urban world with an original landscape is to be used for the most diverse of events, a meltingpot for commercial, educational and cultural activities.

Coffee shop and entrance to the restaurant at the upper floor.

t was a real challenge to meet the requirements of thermal insulation for this shape of building and the specific use by choosing adequate construction materials. The character of a building is largely influenced not only by the choice and size of the site, the specified function and ground-floor plan, but also by the outward appearance, i.e. the faade. It makes the first impression. The design of a building may show a most conventional look a uniform or inconspicuous form or be a clear manifest of extravagance and head for an excitingly new solution that makes curious to discover its insides. In the case of the Phaeno Science Centre, its attractive exterior form

and materials appeal to have a closer look at the relations between space and paths in the building and put the essentially banal question When am I actually inside the Phaeno? The external world of forms invites to discover the mysterious landscape inside. Like a casting and its mould, an exceptionally close linking between outside and inside is created by means of inversion. Inside the building shapes into a covered artificial landscape, divided into sequences of rooms unpredictable by visitors. Science, technology and the corresponding experimental stations have found an

A house designed to spark curiosity

External view of Phaeno Science Centre during construction, a mix of geometrical and flowing elements.

Photo Klaus Reichardt

adequate architectural representation, which is constructed movement, constructed inquisitiveness. Of course, the construction materials emphasise this particular architectural design. Experiment as an integral component is taken up in the light engineering, the window shapes, the non-transparent walls and the sculptural, plastic shaping from one piece which moves away from conventional categories of posts, lintels and ceilings. The faade is a mix of geometrical and flowing elements; a fascinating effect of drifting is produced by rows of windows cast in SelfCompacting Concrete and metal walls, creating an interesting, dynamic pattern.

Entrance foyer for group visitors. The turbulent interior landscape arouses a desire to discover. The 11,000 m2 area is divided into sequences of rooms unpredictable by visitors.

Photo Klaus Reichardt One of the 250 experimental stations.

The experimental hall, 9,000 m2, with experimental stations.


Photo Mayer-Bhrle

FOAMGLAS interior insulation systems meeting all the buildings performance demands

or the interior surfaces, on the boundaries with the outer climate and with lower temperature locals, it is necessary to eliminate physical interactions in the building, in view of an overall high standard specified for the room temperature. With the quantity of exposed concrete walls and the required thermal insulation level, this mission represented a real challenge, further to the additional requirements listed below: Excellent ecological profile of the insulation material. Incombustibility of the insulant. Highly resistant, without ageing in the long-term. High compressive strength. Easy to work and fitting to all shapes. Airtight. Water- and vapour-proof; no additional vapour-barrier required. Constant thermal insulation, no condensation within the build-up or wall section. Surface suited for plasterwork. Steady temperature level and comfortable interior climate under all weatherconditions, for diverse use requirements and a variable number of visitors inside the Science Centre.

During the summer 2000 approx. 9 months before turning the first sod different solutions for insulating relevant construction elements at the interior were discussed with the architects and engineers. FOAMGLAS cellular glass insulation, type T4-040, was identified to meet the most stringent requirements of this building. Imperative, workmanship and execution of details required a great deal of supervision and planning to optimise the high product quality in application. This becomes clear with a look at the photos and plans (see page 10). The shaping of the walls, with diverse conical radius, was quite a difficult task for the thermal insulation contractors. For certain sections the FOAMGLAS slabs had to be cut into strips similar to the narrow panels of the concretes wooden shuttering - to follow the curved walls sloping at different angles.

Interior insulation

On Self-Compacting Concrete walls / prefab concrete structures

In general, the interior insulation was laid with the following build-up: Structural wall (Self-Compacting Concrete) Bituminous primer, emulsion paint PC EM FOAMGLAS cellular glass insulation, fully adhered to the wall with vapour-proof cold adhesive PC 56, joints filled with adhesive Above a certain height, mechanical securing of the FOAMGLAS insulation with ceiling fixing Mineral mortar (base coat) PC 74 A2, with reinforcement mesh PC 150 Prime coat PC 310 Decorative finish coat, retarded hemihydrate plaster PC 140 (Class B p.; type of plaster of Paris) and for execution in some parts: Bituminous primer, emulsion paint PC EM FOAMGLAS cellular glass insulation, fully adhered to the wall with vapour-proof cold adhesive PC 56, joints filled with adhesive Above a certain height, mechanical securing of the FOAMGLAS insulation with ceiling fixing Plasterboard finish.

PRINCIPLE DRAWING: Interior wall insulation system with incombustible materials

Masonry/concrete PC EM primer Cold bituminous adhesive PC 56 Cellular glass insulation slabs FOAMGLAS T4-040 Mineral mortar (base coat) PC 74 A2 Reinforcement mesh PC 150 Mineral mortar (base coat) PC 74 A2 with prime coat PC 310 Finish coat, retarded hemihydrate plaster PC 140

On profiled metal walls

The build-up described above offered a perfect substrate for installing the insulation. However, where the substrate was formed of profiled metal sheets, specific sound insulation chipboard had to be placed before application of the FOAMGLAS slabs. Placed on top of the crowns of the profiled metal sheets, 10 mm thick fibre-reinforced PC sound insulation boards, fire rating class A2, were screwed by means

Application of the FOAMGLAS insulation on metal walls (profiled metal sheets).


FOAMGLAS interior insulation

of self-drilling screws; the number of screws according to stability calculations. In this way, the walls mass could be increased to reduce the sound transmission from one space to another; the sound insulation value was improved by remarkable 5 to 10 dB. This is appreciable because 10 dB means doubling of the sound insulation, usually reached without any additional measures. As described before, the proven

vapour-proof FOAMGLAS insulation layer is then bonded to the composite wall.

Particular attention had to be paid to the fixings of the sub-construction which had to bear faade elements in some parts of the building. FOAMGLAS insulation had to be fitted around the fasteners in a way to avoid all risks from condensation and thermal bridges. The adaptation of the insulation slabs to these elements required a great deal of precision and exceptional craft skills from the contracting firms. Connection joints which had to be made impermeable to vapour and resistant to movement stress were sealed with Pittseal 444 N, a special mastic that is fully vapour-proof and suited for the temperature range from 50 C to + 80 C. The joints between vapour-proof FOAMGLAS insulation and adjoining concrete elements were bridged with self-adhesive vapour seal tape.

Thermal dilatation of materials

Type of material
Concrete Reinforced concrete Steel Cellular concrete Aluminium Titanium zinc Copper Styropor Extruded polystyrene Polyurethane Phenol resin PVC (hard) WWLB Board **) FOAMGLAS

Dilatation (mm/ m x 100 K)

Source: Dr. Grunau, Thermal insulation materials **) Wood wool lightweight building board

Bonding of FOAMGLAS slabs to follow the curved walls sloping at different angles.

Interior works in the science cinema, bonding FOAMGLAS slabs to walls and ceiling. Finally the insulation layer is coated with a finish coat of retarded hemihydrate plaster PC 140.

Interior dcor with FOAMGLAS insulation slabs on the walls and a finish coat of retarded hemihydrate plaster PC 140.

Had to be taken into consideration the different thermal dilatation of materials, for instance between FOAMGLAS cellular glass, the bonding substrate (warming up of the faade when exposed to the sun) and the adjoining construction elements. Similar thermal dilatation values of the materials are indicator for their compatibility.

Certainly of advantage is, that FOAMGLAS insulation is dimensionally stable due to its cellular glass structure (it will not swell or sag even when exposed to moisture) and moreover, material tensions are avoided because its specific dilatation/contraction behaviour is in line with that of steel and reinforced concrete (see figure, page 8: THERMAL DILATATION OF MATERIALS).

Finish coat of retarded hemihydrate plaster PC 140, quality fine.


FOAMGLAS interior insulation

Sectional drawing Cone 1 & 2
FOAMGLAS interior insulation, in some parts with plasterboard finish Structural wall in Self-Compacting Concrete

Plasterboard, 2 x 1.25 cm thick CD profile 60 x 27 (Knauf - W 623) U profile Cellular glass, 8 cm thick; sealed vapour-proof Self-Compacting Concrete wall, 25 cm thick Concrete screed, 15 cm thick Dampproofing at the bottom of the room Thermal insulation

Structural concrete


ue to the great diversity of curved walls sloping at different angles, the contractors for the insulation had to work with particular skill on the application of FOAMGLAS slabs; in particular as FOAMGLAS insulation is incompressible, nonflexible and deformation-free. The worker had to be skilful, but nevertheless, with common tools all levelling and fitting operations could be done without difficulties to make the insulation double the most spectacularly sloping walls.

By use of a scraper, pipe and cable conduits could be accommodated in the FOAMGLAS insulation layer without creating thermal bridges or generating condensation problems. A perfectly smooth insulation layer is obtained by levelling out any unevenness by abrasion. Screwed connections to suspend light weights could directly be screwed into the cellular glass insulation, without risks of thermal bridges or condensation. Fixing through the insulation was thus reduced to a strict minimum.

Uneven insulation surfaces can be levelled out by abrasion with conventional tools.

Cutting grooves for cables in FOAMGLAS slab insulation with the help of simple tools (e.g. a scraper).



Certified safety
In order to control that state-of-the art workmanship would produce uncompromised thermal insulation performance on the inside of the structural walls and offer best protection against condensation, the built-in thermal insulation was checked at different spots. Upon request of the client, this control had been made by Materialprfanstalt Braunschweig (MPA, material testing institute in Braunschweig). The results of the tests confirmed the excellent workmanship regarding the insulation works and specified quality standards could be certified. The long path from the first consultance until completion of the project was a great challenge for all participants. The history confirmed, however, that the requirements regarding highly performing interior insulation did find a solution. With regards to the expected service life, a durable technical solution for interior insulation was found using FOAMGLAS cellular glass, a material that is cost-effective and offers large design liberties for the architect.

The main benefits are:

Constant thermal insulation value. Vapour-proof cellular glass structure that prevents physical interactions in buildings. No need for additional vapour-barriers or airtight sheets on the warm side of the insulation, which regularly show imperfections. Full insulation performance, even under variable temperature and moisture conditions on the room side. No thermal bridges because of uninterrupted, fully bonded insulation layer.
The FOAMGLAS insulation layer is the perfect, incompressible substrate for the plasterwork. It protects the structure of the building without need for fragile additional vapour-barriers, because closed cell cellular glass material assumes the functions of vapour control layer and thermal insulation in one.


FOAMGLAS flat roof

Roof insulation

ompared to the wall insulation works, the roofing works were standard applications; the proven FOAMGLAS Compact Roof was installed fast-track on concrete deck and on steel deck, using hot bonded insulation slabs followed by a two-ply waterproofing. Meeting specified severe safety require-

ments, FOAMGLAS insulation systems with compact bonding of all components were applied. Rigid and high compressive strength FOAMGLAS insulation forms a supportive and resistant construction for the waterproofing which is not subject to settlement and shear in the joints. FOAMGLAS cellular glass is the key element of an exclusive all in one insulation and waterproofing system with aqua-stop and anti-leakage guarantee.


CONTRACTORS: Fa. Jrg Zimmermann Master painter Potsdamerstrasse 8 D - 39114 MAGDEBURG Fa. Werner Dohrendorf GmbH Master painter Mittelstrasse 12 D - 38527 MEINE Fa. Rainer Bode Borsigstrasse 11 D - 38446 WOLFSBURG

Compact bonding of FOAMGLAS slabs on steel deck using hot bitumen 1. Steel deck 2. FOAMGLAS slabs bonded with hot bitumen 3. Hot bitumen flood coat 4. Two-ply waterproofing, 1st layer 5. Two-ply waterproofing, 2nd layer

Compact bonding of FOAMGLAS slabs on concrete deck using hot bitumen 1. Concrete deck, structural concrete 2. Bituminous primer 3. FOAMGLAS slabs bonded with hot bitumen 4. Hot bitumen flood coat 5. Two-ply waterproofing, 1st layer 6. Two-ply waterproofing, 2nd layer 7. Aggregate ballast, if required

Fa. Spoma Parkett und Ausbau GmbH Sallestrasse 43-44 D - 39126 MAGDEBURG Fa. Opteam GmbH Handwerkerring 1 D - 39326 WOLMIRSTEDT Mnch Dachsysteme GmbH Kleiweg 2a D - 06484 QUEDLINBURG
see also: Technical Data, p. 14



Planners, manufacturer and building trades a successful team

A retrospective look

On the completion of the project: red carpet for FOAMGLAS. TECHNICAL DATA Project: PHAENO Science Center Wolfsburg Willy-Brandt-Platz D - WOLFSBURG Client: Municipality of Wolfsburg Architects: Zaha Hadid Ltd. & Mayer Bhrle, freelance architects www. Technical consultant, thermal insulation: Deutsche FOAMGLAS GmbH Wilfried Bhler, office Freiburg Tel.: 0761-20272-0 Tel.: 0761-20272-12 Fax: 0761-20272-20 Eckhardt Noack, office Hamburg Tel.: 040-253051-0 Tel.: 040-253051-13 Fax: 040-253051-20 FOAMGLAS insulation: Interior wall insulation: 9,500 m2 Primer PC EM: 400 kg Vapour-proof adhesive PC 56: 36,000 kg Vapour-proof adhesive PC 88: 1,200 kg FOAMGLAS slabs T4-040; thicknesses 40 / 80 / 100 mm PC ceiling fixing, type F: 9,000 pcs Plasterworks: PC 74 A2: 21,000 kg Finish coat, retarded hemihydrate plaster PC 140: 8,000 kg PC sound insulation chipboards: 400 m2 Roof insulation: 1,300 m2 FOAMGLAS slabs T4-040; 140 mm thick Construction period: 12/2003 - 07/2005

n the middle of February 2006 about 3 months after the opening of the Phaeno Science Centre in Wolfsburg the architect Peter Maximilian Bhrle from the architect partnership Zaha Hadid Ltd. & Mayer Bhrle met with Jrg Zimmermann, contractor of the insulation works for a summary of the works done. Having chosen with FOAMGLAS systems a safe solution to meet all building physics and design requirements of interior insulation, it was of crucial importance for the architects that the insulation supplier Deutsche FOAMGLAS GmbH could offer excellent consultance services over a long planning and execution period. First pre-planning discussions started halfway through the year 2000, in the offices of Mayer-Bhrle architects in Lrrach, Germany. More intensive consultancies followed with the progress of the construction. As Mr Zimmermann resumed in his look back, the job-site assistance by the FOAMGLAS supplier was excellent and guaranteed that the most complicated

details on insulation and connection works could be handled correctly; many of the technical details having had their first edition in this demanding project. For all building professionals it was interesting to discover that deformation-free and high compressive strength FOAMGLAS insulation could visually perfect be adapted to the surfaces of the curved walls sloping at different angles, be it convex or concave shapes. The architect Peter Bhrle commented that this building owes its uniqueness and livelihood to the avant-garde architectural design and an approach to construction that is to be classified as pioneering work. After all, a project that makes technical history, with new design and thinking, in terms of technical as well as spatial or functional form. It does not surprise that the Phaeno Science Centre in Wolfsburg was officially presented to the public twice, as an exciting masterpiece of architecture: the day of its inauguration and on the occasion of the Open Doors Day of Architecture, on 25th of June 2006. Incredible, a first run!

Basic principles and benefits of cellular glass interior insulation

Constant thermal insulation value/ Significant energy savings in the long term. Prevents cold bridges. Creation of a barrier against condensation and moisture migration through the construction element. Prevents mould growth and efflorescence. Supportive and deformation-free layer for plasterwork. Safe detail handling.
I would not appreciate if somebody leaves this house, full of admiration how intelligent somebody else is. It is terribly important not only to be curious, but to have some confidence in your own ability to find something out or to lean something. Quotes
from Frank Oppenheimer, the founder of the first Science Centre, Exploratorium, in San Francisco.

Reduced number of components in the build-up. Fits to all shapes. No limits regarding use and interior climate conditions. Incombustible material, optimal solution regarding fire safety.



Free literature on different FOAMGLAS-systems: available as printed copy by post.

Further FOAMGLAS publications can be downloaded from the internet - NEWS

PI/PHAENO Science Centre - FG interior insulation/EN/10/06-2006 - PCE - Corporate Communications Department


available in: English German French

BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY FOAMGLAS insulation systems for the envelope of the building.
available in: French English German Dutch


available in: French English German Dutch


available in: French English German Dutch

PERINSUL SL The insulation block that avoids thermal bridges and saves energy.
available in: German French English

Test report on the toxicity of fumes from extruded polystyrene (XPS) when inhaled in the case of fire. available in: German French

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The plateau of the experimental hall with FOAMGLAS insulation on the interior walls and on the steel decks of the main ceiling.

FOAMGLAS insulation applications are detailed in technical specifications covering various project stages: Design, Specification, Tender and Installation. These specifications are available on request from any Pittsburgh Corning subsidiary or their approved representatives.



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The FOAMGLAS NEWSLETTER gives information on most recent developments and application techniques. The document gives guidance on the systems, however the user should refer to specific national guidelines and technical approvals in different countries. PC and FOAMGLAS are registered trademarks in the United States and other countries.

PI/ Phaeno Science Centre, Wolfsburg - Germany/EN/10/06.2006PCE - Corporate Communications Department