If you think the Welt is just a place for delivery, you are wrong. It’s a hybrid building.’ So spoke Professor Wolf D Prix at the opening dinner for BMW Welt, the new and dynamic Coop Himmelba(l)au creation for BMW’s car delivery services, as well as a place for display and communication with the public. What with Zaha Hadid’s 2005 BMW Plant in Leipzig, and the opening of Porsche’s Stuttgart Museum by Delugan Meissl in a year’s time, it seems that the relationship between architecture and the car industry is growing stronger by the minute.
The new addition to the Munich BMW complex – partly designed by Prix’s professor, Karl Schwanzer – is a dynamic semi-transparent, glass and steel structure featuring a wavy roof ending in a twisting twin-cone form, and an open main interior space with a composition of monumental stairways, curved bridges and balconies.
The project’s somewhat softer curved forms may hint at a slight design shift for Coop Himmelba(l)au, when compared to the practice’s previous preference for more intensely fragmented and angled shapes; but this evolution might be as much a result of a number of recent important commissions, as of working with a company as big and established as BMW. According to the architect: ‘We can now prove that we can do what, a few years back, we were saying we could do’.
first featured a look inside the much-awaited BMW Welt in October’s issue (W* 103) of Wallpaper*