4D Magic at the Kellerwald National Park Centre

AUTHOR: Inavate

The development of an attractive alternative programme that competes with the likes of television, video games, cinema, MP3 Players and the Internet, was the difficult task set for Peter Gaffert of the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park in the Land of Hessen at the heart of Germany.

His raw material: a gigantic beech grove with an area of nearly 6,000 hectares that will soon be part of the UNESCO world natural heritage as today the range of beech trees has dwindled to a mere 7 per cent of its original size.

But it’s not only trees you can find, there is also a variety of endangered animals living in the national park such as rare species of woodpeckers and numerous species of shy bats that have found a new home in the spreading wilderness of the national park.

Gaffert brought the professionals of the Austrian company Kraftwerk Living Technologies on board and asked them to design an exposition like it hadn't been seen before. The task for Christie partner Kraftwerk was to fill the building of the National Park Centre with life. The form of the building itself already offers something new in terms of architecture: Christian Decker, the architect, took his inspirations from looking at the crowns of the beech grove.

In the interior of the centre everything is grouped around the circular “FilmRoom”, appropriately subtitled '4D Senses Film'. In the movie 'Beech Views', a special in-house production, a national park ranger accompanies the visitor onto a walk through the wilderness – his only help: a pair of 3D glasses. With them the butterflies that flutter by seem so near that they appear to be within the viewer’s grasp, while the wind caresses his face, and he feels the tickling of passing beetles on his calves.