Project team:

Architects: Coop Himmelb(l)au, Paul Kath
Lighting design: ag Licht, Klaus Adolph, Wilfried Kramb
Project management Wilfried Kramb and Michaela Kruse

Products applied:

“Cloud“: Martin Architectural, Exterior 200 with subtractive RGB
colour changing, 150 watt HIT, mechanically dimmable via louvres
Ceiling slots: display lighting for cars using 575 watt HMI, 6000K
Arri film projectors, with additional louvres for dimming, dimmable
up to 50 per cent, Superspot 5 degrees
Emergency lighting: Sill parabolic projector 021 equipped with
42 watt TC-TEL
Ambient lighting (200-250 lux): Erco, Stella 70/150 watt CDM-T,
Focalflood, Superspot version to accentuate the latest models

07. Mar 2009

Close encounters of the third kind

Text: Prof. Susanne Brenninkmeijer
Photos: Engehardt & Sellin

The new building that houses BMW Welt looks as if it is from another planet. The Exhibition, Events and Delivery Center is the latest of three buildings that make up the BMW ensemble in Munich. The existing structures might well be described as historic, and the new addition definitely had to be able to hold its own. The new building was designed by a team of architects from Coop Himmelb(l)au. Its striking outward appearance means it can stand proud next to the famous “four-cylinder” administration building and the shiny silver BMW Museum, both designed back in the seventies by Prof. Karl Schwanzer.

The manifold requirements the highly prestigious building was expected to meet as a delivery center, show-room, visitors’ center and events venue are reflected in the outward appearance of the structure. It was designed to receive invited guests, to hand new cars over to customers, and to give people the chance to learn more about BMW. Any building designed for an automobile manufacturer who is satisfied with nothing less than the ultimate when it comes to perfectly engineered technology and innovative design has to be able to demonstrate that from the outside as well. Anyone seeing the futuristic building for the first time is immediately aware of its diverse contents. The glazed facade allows interesting insight into the building from all sides, like a huge glass showcase. The gently curved, apparently lightweight roof that embraces the entire structure leaves one with the impression of perfected structural engineering. The materials selected enhance this impression all the more. The graceful nature of the free form awakens associations with the term “design” rather than with “architecture”. When designing the “floating” roof, architect Prof. D. Prix was inspired by the image of a cloud, as the final result shows. The designed lighting enhances this effect. The lighting designers from ag Licht likewise based their design on the cloud image. The purposefully uneven lighting reflects the quality of the surface of a cloud. The effect is achieved using uplights equipped with white light sources together with colour changing projectors based on the principle of subtractive colour mixing to generate the desired colours. The spaces beneath the flowing roof continue the flowing idea. Visitors can move through the vast space easily. The central area is where customers come to pick up their new cars. The Automobile Handover is one of the prime functions of the building and is choreographed down to the smallest detail.[…]

The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 65

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