New Construction

Site preparation for AWI's Technical Centre gets underway

Information at the “Geestemünde geht zum Wasser” event on Klußmannstraße
[12. September 2018] 

The site preparation for the Technical Centre starts in mid-September. The new building on Klußmannstraße is part of the AWI campus in the 'Handelshafen' area. Anyone interested can find out more on-site on Sunday, 16 September.

At the heart of the new campus of the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), the building located on Klußmannstraße will stretch along the marina, and will include office and workshop areas as well as a large expedition preparation hall with high-bay storage facilities. In the future, in the new Technical Centre roughly 40 scientists and engineers will develop and test, among other things, ice drills in a 15-metre tower, or check the reliability of measuring devices under near-natural conditions.

For this purpose, the building will have cold rooms with temperatures as low as -80 °C and a large test basin filled with seawater. These tests are important for the preparation of expeditions, as the measuring instruments used must withstand extreme conditions and function reliably in Earth’s most remote regions. Over long periods without service and maintenance, they must be able to take measurements autonomously, and then send or save the data.

“We are delighted that the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the State of Bremen are providing roughly 14 million euros so that our work – which until now has been spread over several buildings in Bremerhaven – can be concentrated in one location,” says AWI Director Prof. Dr Antje Boetius, adding, “The modern facilities will provide new impetus for the development of marine technologies at the AWI.” However, it will be a while before the employees can move into the new Technical Centre. First, the site preparation has to be completed: what is known as the “Nordsee Villa” must make way for the new building, and several hundred piles will be driven into the ground at 2.5 metre intervals. The foundation piles ensure that the building is solid, and additional piles will provide heating via geothermal energy,” reports the AWI project manager Dr Andreas Schmidt. If no unforeseen, time-consuming groundwork is required, the foundation stone will be laid in early / mid 2019. The interior construction and the equipment of the special rooms will probably take until early 2021.

According to Bremerhaven’s Mayor Melf Grantz, the Technical Centre will be an important landmark for the development of the new shipyard district: “As a link from the city centre to the shipyard district, the AWI Technical Centre and other AWI buildings will create a research and development area that underscores Bremerhaven’s reputation as a city of science.” For the Mayor, it is important that the waterfront in the 'Handelshafen' area is accessible for pedestrians. “It will make Bremerhaven feel closer to the water.”

“With the new Technical Centre on Klußmannstraße, the AWI strengthens the research landscape in and around the 'Fischereihafen' area. We are very pleased about the AWI’s activities and are happy to provide the required space,” says Petra Neykov, Managing Director of the Fischereihafen-Betriebsgesellschaft mbH (FBG). In 2017, the FBG renovated the building 'Klußmannstraße 3d' with a total area of approx. 2,800 m² and subsequently rented it to the AWI. The FBG is currently investigating how the former 'Nordsee' building on the quay of the 'Handelshafen' - with a total area of approx. 5,800 m² - can also be prepared for a new purpose. In addition, there are plans to redesign the surrounding open space.

A delegation form Greenland will be invited to the foundation stone ceremony next year, since the building will be named after Greenlander Rasmus Willumsen, from Ukkusissat, who took part in Alfred Wegener’s expedition in 1930. He represents the numerous supporters of science who make research possible even today. It was Willumsen who accompanied Wegener on his fateful return journey back from Eismitte, during which Wegener died and was carefully buried by Willumsen with great dignity and respect. Shortly afterwards Willumsen also died, although it is not clear how and when, as his body was never found.

On Sunday, 16 September between noon and 5 pm, residents and anyone else interested will have the opportunity to inform themselves about the construction project. As part of the „Geestemünde geht zum Wasser“  event (organised by the local Geestemünde site management), Dr Andreas Schmidt, project manager of the Technical Centre, and AWI oceanographer Gerd Rohardt, who is responsible for coordinating users’ needs, are looking forward to welcoming many visitors. Alongside information about the Technical Centre, the Alfred Wegener Institute will also present the Polar Camp – an interactive Antarctic exhibition –  and at the Klußmannstraße site, the diving group  will give insights into their work.  On the other side of the harbour, the AWI Centre for Aquaculture Research (ZAF) will open its doors. The FBG will also inform visitors about its work and the further development in the area around 'Klußmannstraße 3'.


You can find more information about the event at: Geestemünde geht zum Wasser.

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The Institute

The Alfred Wegener Institute pursues research in the polar regions and the oceans of mid and high latitudes. As one of the 18 centres of the Helmholtz Association it coordinates polar research in Germany and provides ships like the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations for the international scientific community.