Choice of taste and styling

People make choices in their lives. From childhood, about toys and clothes, to adulthood, about jobs, partners or homes, we have been making choices. Most of the choices are almost a reflection of ourselves, our hobbies, attitudes and lifestyles. What kind of criteria do you apply when you want to choose a car? Budget? Performance? Colour? For how many people? There are too many choices!

If a car company wants to choose an architectural design to endorse the company’s brand image and convey the purchasing experience of their products, what kind of choice would it be?

sketch of BMW Welt © Coop Himmelb(l)au

The BMW car company in Germany held a worldwide architectural competition to find the best building design to endorse the brand image. Coop Himmelb(l)au, an architect group from Austria, has a unique architectural style. In 2001, Coop Himmelb(l)au won the international competition against 275 other architect offices.

view from South

In 2007, BMW Welt was officially opened in Munich. The design concept provides for a hybrid building that represents a mixture of urban elements. It is not just an exhibition hall, an information and communications centre, or a museum, but all of these combined – an interweaving of urban marketplace and stage for brand showcasing and events of every kind.

The futuristic sci-fi architecture and tornado-like styling with a cool metal glass showcases BMW’s avant-garde high-tech brand image. The interior of the new building is mainly BMW’s brand image experience hall and new car delivery centre. The whole trip would be complemented by the BMW Museum. Visiting these two buildings is a superb journey through amazing car craftsmanship and architectural aesthetics.

I remember the first time I took a German-language guided tour of BMW Welt. My friend and I arrived at 1:58 pm, but we were the last two persons for the tour. At exactly 2 pm the guided tour really started! No attendee was late. Punctuality is a basic etiquette that Germans insist on. The German culture is very similar to their architectural and automotive industry design: accurate, meticulous, practical and durable, with a rigorous attitude towards work.

The architectural realization of this vision led to a spatial concept with five sculpture-like thematic blocks: premiere, forum, gastronomy “tower”, double cone, and – encompassing all the these – the hall-like urban landscape, above which the seemingly free-arching roof vaults; in fact it is carried by a mere eleven supports and the elevator cores.

The spacious and airy hall represents the central marketplace. Its inner topography is differentiated by the flowing transitions between various areas of spatial density, and it permits extremely varied uses. At the centre is the premiere, the zone where vehicles are handed over to customers. The complex processes, functionally linked to the handoff, extend to nearly every floor of the building, largely hidden from visitors, as though in an underground skyscraper. By contrast, the lounge, where the formalities of vehicle purchases in fact take place, seems to float above the premiere as a space integrated into the ceiling.

section of auditorium and garage © Coop Himmelb(l)au

The tower in the southwest of the complex represents a multifunctional area in itself. Alongside two restaurants, it contains exhibition and sales floors and administrative offices.

Another key function of BMW Welt is provided by the forum, the core of which is an auditorium that seats up to 800 people. Its technical equipment, such as the hydraulic lifting platforms, allows it to be used for a wide variety of events. It can even be opened up entirely to the hall to make special events as grand as possible. As a “space within a space”, it is also acoustically equipped to permit functionally independent events to take place simultaneously in the hall, the auditorium, and the adjoining conference area.

The structurally technical concept for the large hall is distinguished by a sustainable synergy between natural environmental influences and technical systems. To save energy, the lighting technology compensates actively for variations in daylight. Likewise, the climate concept integrates natural ventilation and mechanical climate control. The fine tuning of the spatial acoustics through the optimization of the sonic characteristics of all surfacing materials guarantees a comfortable atmosphere in the hall. The special challenge posed by auto exhaust in the premiere area, where cars are delivered in an area open to the hall space, is countered with direct suction and targeted fresh air supply.

Viewed structurally, the double cone – regarded formally as the dynamic origin of the roof level – is a main support of the roof, and it makes an essential contribution to the structural strength of the building. The double cone houses a fully equipped multilevel event area, a stage with its own catering infrastructure, car turntables, and infrastructure connections for such events as concerts, exhibitions, and talk shows. It also allows vehicles to be brought over from the garage area.

The surface of the glass outer shell, in combination with the high thermal storage capacity of the floor and certain walls, create thermally comfortable surface temperatures.

Particular emphasis was placed on lines of sight and visual interaction, both within individual areas of BMW Welt and with the immediate surroundings: The building’s transparent glass facades let the landscape of the Olympia Park flow into the building, and a wedge cut from the form of the roof makes a special gesture of reference to the neighbouring Four Cylinder towers (architect: Karl Schwanzer), BMW’s corporate headquarters. This incision makes it possible to experience the entire Four Cylinder high-rise from certain points inside BMW Welt during the vehicle handoff.

This visual design is Coop Himmelb(l)au’s homage to their mentor, because both mentor and student have won BMW Motors competitions at different times, and the two buildings are also linked by a foot bridge, which is a symbol of this mentoring relationship.

The foot bridge from BMW Welt to Four Cylinder towers

In particular, an 8,000 m2 solar power station is installed on the roof. A conventional photovoltaic array was out of the question, since the view of BMW Welt roof as a “fifth façade” – visible from the high-rise corporate headquarters – is an important part of the communicative impact of the outer shell.

8,000 m2 solar power station on the roof. View from Olympia tower to BMW area

The core of BMW Welt is the vehicle delivery, which makes up both the spatial centre and the functional backbone of the building. New cars are delivered at the building’s own delivery station in the sublevels, which incorporate automatic car washes, garages, final paint quality control stations and final detailing stations. The sublevels also include a daily storage facility in the form of an automatic high-bay warehouse with capacity for 250 cars. This corresponds to the maximum capacity of daily vehicle delivery. The delivery and “final finish” process takes place on a substage area invisible to customers and visitors. The vehicles are then transported by transparent glass elevators to the actual handoff stage, known as the premiere, which can be seen at the centre of BMW Welt from all other areas. The vehicles are then exhibited on turntables.

Get ready for handoff on the premiere

Although BMW Welt is in essence a public building, certain areas are available exclusively to persons picking up new vehicles. They can check in at the BMW Welt main entrances like in a hotel. They have exclusive access to two levels in the lounge over the premiere, including rest and relaxation areas for those who have come from far away. The final necessary formalities are taken care of in the lounge. Traversing a wide flight of stairs, clients picking up vehicles are then led by a customer service agent to the actual handoff on the premiere, where they can get into their vehicle and drive out via a ramp.

section of hidden parts where visitors can not see © Coop Himmelb(l)au

Inside BMW Welt, all publicly accessible areas, including the forum, the gastronomy areas, and the double cone, are connected to one another by a light, wide bridge construction, hung from the roof to avoid the need for supports in the interior space. Arching widenings of the bridge at set panorama points invite visitors to linger.

various panorama points on the bridge

The BMW Welt wants to convey a special purchasing experience to customers who buy cars, so this building represents the group’s philosophy.

Architecture has become an element of the consumer experience. Which kind of consumption space would you choose?



德國的寶馬汽車公司為了尋找品牌形象的代言而舉行世界性的建築競圖。來自奧地利的建築師事務所藍天組Coop Himmelb(l)au 善長特異獨行的建築造型,2001 年時在275 組建築師參加的國際競圖大放光彩。

2007 年寶馬汽車世界BMW Welt正式開幕。設計理念是提供一個混合建築,可以代表了城市元素的混合體。它不僅僅是一個展廳,一個信息和通信中心,或一個博物館,而是所有這些功能結合在一起,一個城市市場的交織和品牌展示和各種活動的舞台。


BMW Welt versus Four Cylinder towers



寬敞透明的大廳代表著中央市場。它的內部地形由不同空間密度區域之間的流動過渡區分,並允許極其多樣化的用途。在中心處是首映(Premiere),車輛交接給客戶的區域。與交接功能相關的複雜過程幾乎延伸到建築物的每個樓層。 這區域遠離遊客,就像地下摩天大樓中的那樣。相比之下,實際上發生車輛購買手續的休息室在首映式之上作為集成到天花板的空間中。


BMW Welt的另一個關鍵功能是由論壇(Forum)提供一個可容納800人的禮堂。它的技術設備,如液壓升降平台,可用於各種活動。它甚至可以完全打開到大廳,以便在盛大的時裝中舉辦特別活動。作為“空間內的空間” 。論壇還具有聲學裝備,允許在大廳,禮堂和相鄰的會議區域內同時進行功能獨立的活動。




BMW Welt的個別區域以及周圍環境特別強調視線和視覺交互:建築的透明玻璃幕牆讓奧林匹亞公園的景觀流入建築物,並從楔形切割屋頂為寶馬公司總部的四缸塔(建築師:Karl Schwanzer)提供了一個特殊的姿態。這種切口設計使得在車輛交接期間可以從BMW Welt內部的某些點體驗整個四缸塔。這個視覺設計是藍天組對恩師的尊敬, 因為他們師徒兩個都在不同時間贏得到寶馬汽車公司的競圖, 兩棟建築物也用空橋連起來, 牽連起師徒之情。

特別的是屋頂上設置8000 平方公尺的太陽能發電站。傳統的光伏陣列是不可能的,因為寶馬世界屋頂作為“第五立面”的視圖 – 從高層公司總部可見 – 是外殼的交流影響的重要組成部分。

BMW Welt的核心是車輛交接,它構成了建築的空間中心和功能主幹。新車在該建築自己的交接站交接,其中包括自動洗車,車庫,最終油漆質量控制站和最終的詳細站點。還包括一個自動高架倉庫形式的日常存儲設施,可容納250輛汽車。這相當於每日車輛交付的最大容量。交接過程和“最終完成”過程發生在客戶和訪客看不到的子區域。然後通過透明玻璃電梯將車輛運送到實際的切換階段,稱為首映式(Premiere),可以在寶馬世界中心的所有其他區域看到。然後將車輛展示在轉盤上。

儘管BMW Welt本質上是一座公共建築,但某些區域僅供購買新車的人使用。客戶可以在相似旅館的BMW Welt主入口辦理報到手續。在首映式的休息室,他們可以獨家進入休息室,包括休息和休閒區,適合那些來自遠方的人。最後必要的手續在休息室進行。穿過一段寬闊的樓梯,乘客的車輛由客戶服務代理人帶領到首映的實際交接,在那裡他們可以進入他們在BMW Welt獲得的車輛並通過坡道駛出。

在BMW Welt內部,所有可公開進入的區域,包括論壇,美食區域和雙錐體,都通過一個輕型,跨越大橋的結構相互連接,懸掛在屋頂上以避免在室內空間中的支撐。在設置的全景點對橋樑進行加寬,可以讓遊客流連忘返。

寶馬汽車世界想傳達特別的購買體驗給購買車的客戶,因此這個建築物代表了集團的理念。建築在這裏成了消費體驗的一個元素, 你會選擇哪種消費空間呢?