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Architravel: BMW Welt by Coop Himmelb(l)au

On my way back to downtown Munich after visiting the Allianz Arena by Herzog & De Meuron, a very interesting building caught my eye: an abstract building with no visible corners. From one side the building looks like a gigantic hourglass with a metal skin that seemingly supports the whole roof of the glass-walled building. Initially I thought this was the work of Zaha Hadid, but the bus guide explained that the building designed by Zaha Hadid is the BMW factory in Leipzig, not Munich.

“You can drop off at Olympic Park, take the pedestrian bridge. Do not forget that the last Hop On, Hop Off bus departs at 17.45, or you can take the U-bahn to the city center,” explained the roofless double-decker bus guide in English with a thick German accent. BMW World, or BMW Welt as it is known in its original German, is indeed strategically situated. It is not far from the city center, precisely north of the Olympic Park—the area used for the 1972 Munich Olympics.

There are several main entrances to the BMW Welt, two on the ground floor and another entrance is the suspension bridge connecting this building to the BMW Museum without disturbing the heavy traffic beneath. Coming in from the main entrance, I felt as if I was entering a large hall with glass walls displaying an extensive line of cars—BMWs, Minis, Rolls Royces. The hall is equipped with restaurants, cafés, and stalls selling merchandise. The main circulation leading to the upper floor of this hall is through the stairways and wide metal ramp that seemingly cross each other hanging from the roof in an attempt to avoid the use of columns. At several points the ramp juts out of the wall, indicating viewing points that invite visitors to stop and enjoy the view.

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The full version of this article has been published in ARCHINESIA Bookgazine.

 

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