Holzer-Kobler, the Berlin and Zurich-based architectural practice, produced this angular, reflective structure as a homage to an archaeological discovery in Schöningen, in Germany. Near the building, archaeologists found 300,000-year-old wooden spears and skeletons of hunting horses. The local authorities wanted to display them to the public and commissioned the Paläon Research Centre, which was completed in June, to exhibit the artefacts.
"The building is reflective -- we wanted it to almost disappear into the environment, so it mirrors the surrounding meadows, forests and clouds," explains Tristan Kobler, cofounder and partner of Holzer-Kobler. The design is split into two halves by the 17m-high foyer: one side is a lab for scientists to examine finds; the other is a public education centre including galleries, a café and interative lab. "Looking out, you have views to a 3km-long coal mine, the excavation site and Schöningen," says Kobler. "This building is special; it gives each of us a new perspective on early humanity."