A Glimpse at a Staircase in Copenhagen That Looks Like a DNA Strand

Helix Stairs | ©  Adam Mørk / Courtesy of Experimentarium
Helix Stairs | © Adam Mørk / Courtesy of Experimentarium
Photo of Aliki Seferou
18 April 2017

Experimentarium, a science center that has been presenting technology and science in an innovative way to children and adults since 1991, has been renovated and now offers a unique experience. The most impressive part and the first thing visitors see once they enter the building is the Helix staircase. Because what could be more suitable for a science museum, than a spiral stairway that resembles the DNA strand?

The bubbling workshops and interactive exhibitions still offer knowledge and fun to young and old, but now they take place in a new four-floor exhibition space, which has been especially designed to fit Experimentarium’s science displays. Climb up the 182 steps of the innovative staircase and discover each of the 16 exhibitions and workshops. Children will definitely find it more interesting than the Little Mermaid or Denmark’s Golden Age paintings.

The Helix stairs | © Adam Mørk

The Helix staircase

The 100m (328 ft.) staircase starts from the ground floor and leads up to the fourth floor, connecting the diverse exhibitions spaces and workshop rooms in the most stylish and “scientific” way. When CEBRA architects won the international architecture competition to design the new Experimentarium back in 2011, thought they should come up with a design that fitted the museum’s style and content. A set of stairs that looks like the structure of a DNA molecule definitely does the trick.

The architect and founding partner of CEBRA, Kolja Nielsen points out: “During a workshop with Jakob Bohr, professor at DTU Nanotech, we were inspired to work with the stairs as an abstract version of the DNA strand’s structure. And so, the idea for the Helix staircase was born.”

The stair is built from 160 tons of steel (160,000kg) and is covered with 10 tons of copper (10,000kg).

The Helix stairs | © Adam Mørk

The exhibitions

Aside from the innovative staircase, CEBRA architects refurbished the whole building, making a new 28-ton aluminium façade (28,000kg), partly of recycled beer and aluminium cans and added a large roof terrace which opens in the spring, offering exciting outdoor activities.

“The aim of the design is a radical change to Experimentarium’s architectural expression. From being an introverted building, Experimentarium has become extrovert, inviting and alive,” said Kolja Nielsen.

The exhibition area has now been doubled and through 16 interactive exhibits and workshops, children can experiment with science and technology and realize that things that might seem boring on the pages of a book, can be rather fascinating. Children have the chance to jump, run and play in the Interactive Film Theater room, which is equipped with motion sensors, to explore micro-organisms closer than ever before and discover how soap-bubbles are created.

Once your exploration in the science world is over, enjoy a delicious meal at the picnic area or a fresh juice at the museum’s cozy café.

The Helix stairs | © Adam Mørk

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