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BMW Welt in Munich
Play of Dynamic Forces 

In 2000, the BMW Group decided to build a brand-experience and car-delivery center in close vicinity to the corporate headquarters and the BMW Museum.

Sketch by Wolf dPrix, 2001

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Coop Himmelb(l)au

Quote

Today, everything is conceivable, and depicting daring architecture in colorful announcements is easy. But what is still radical is wresting these images from a one-dimensional illustration and pushing them through – realizing them – in three dimensions. Radical architecture is only radical today when it is also built. That is the difference between now and then.

Wolf dPrix
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Duccio Malagamba

Location
Munich, Germany
Client
BMW AG
Competition
2001, 1st prize 
Start of planning
2001 
Start of construction
2003 
Opening
2007 
Site area
25 000 m²
Gross floor area
73 000 m²
Gross volume
531 000 m³

Video filmed on our 8m long physical model (1:43)

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Imaginary Forces

Project info

One of the central design ideas for the new BMW building was to expand the existing configuration of the BMW Tower and Museum with an additional element to create a spatial, ideal and identity-forming architectural ensemble. The design proposal by Coop Himmelb(l)au consists of a large transparent hall with a sculptural roof and a double cone, informed by the relation to the existing company headquarters building. BMW Welt is composed of five thematic blocks: Hall, Première, Forum, Gastronomy and Double Cone.

The technical solutions used for BMW Welt are based on the office’s previous experiences with large halls, and involve a fusion of low-tech and high-tech approaches. 

In the Hall, specific lighting, whether natural or artificial, ambient climate and acoustics provide people with a feeling of well-being. The underlying concept for the technological building systems integrates these parameters in an interdependent manner, adapting their range of influence by way of controlled mechanisms. A major goal in designing the systems is to save energy, which is achieved by minimizing the mechanical apparatus for ventilation, heating and cooling. The gigantic Hall is thus conceived as a solar-heated, naturally-ventilated subclimatic area, a multifunctional space that does not follow the otherwise customary requirements for heating and ventilation. Natural air supply is generated through thermal currents, wind pressure and turbulence as air accumulates within the façade and roof projection, where automatically-controlled vents allow for air intake and outflow. This natural ventilation system provides sufficient fresh air to the Hall. A 3D simulation of thermal currents and air streams was conducted to investigate the spread of exhaust fumes from cars driven on the Première level. Iterative calculations were then carried out to optimize the placement of air intake and outflow vents for natural air exchange so that the CO2 remains below the permitted threshold value of around 10%.

The key task of the new BMW Welt is to deliver cars. In the Première section, everything is geared towards enhancing the experience of delivery. 

Because of the exhaust gases that this involves, special considerations and calculations had to be made for ventilation since the Première is open to the Hall, the major space in this world of experience. Beyond merely fine-tuning the volume of air intake and outflow currents, it was necessary to directly extract the exhaust fumes and pump-in fresh air. Planning here was based on an assumed turnover of 40 cars per hour or 250 cars per day. The Forum is a building within the building, designed to host events with maximum flexibility. This volume capable of receiving up to 1,200 persons is equipped to meet all the specifications for a full-fledged theater or conference room. The ventilation and soundproofing technologies used to guarantee optimal comfort – a challenge considering its location in the middle of other functional areas. The great quantity of technical equipment is integrated in such a way as to have its own presence in the space. Air is supplied laterally via air jets and is extracted through the ceiling as exhaust air. Based on the number of people in the room, infinite adjustment of the required air volume is possible. 

An event space offering all the options of a public assembly place.

The Double Cone is used as an exhibition space and for special events. Air is brought in by means of a low-induction system placed along the base of the façade and then flows into the roof through openings located at the top of the cone. Floor air conditioning and air circulation coolers present in the wall and floor areas ensure the necessary comfort level. During spring and autumn, natural ventilation via façade shutters is used. The structural design of BMW Welt represented a special challenge as to determining how to conduct supply lines. Because of the vast support-free space, which is borne by only 11 columns plus the elevator shafts, the supply cross-sections for the Lounge floors and the Gastronomy tower had to be integrated into the few supporting core cross-sections.

Project insights

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Christian Richters

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Ari Marcopoulos

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Helene Binet

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Marcus Buck

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Duccio Malagamba

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Duccio Malagamba

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