The most prominent elements of the brand experience and automobile delivery center BMW Welt are the roof and the Double Cone.
The roof landscape of 16,000 square meters, supported by only 11 columns, not only forms the space-enclosing upper limit of the building, but also forms a functional, structural, and above all formally independent structure, in conjunction with the Double Cone.
Ever since Le Corbusier liberated the roof of the Unité as a landscape from its singular significance and function as a mere protective element, and ever since Oscar Niemeyer completed the design of his single-family dwelling Casa das Canoas near Rio de Janeiro, we have understood that the roof of a building need not necessarily follow its basic layout and structure. Rather, the “roof” has taken on a new meaning, new significance in modern architecture.
/Wolf D. Prix
The Double Cone visualizes the soaring dynamics of the building with its continuous transition into the seemingly floating roof. It takes the form of two leaning truncated cones with a rounded transition between them.
The building is sustainable through innovative climatic concepts which result in an estimated 30 percent energy savings. Included in these ideas are the naturally ventilated hall with facade construction that may be heated or cooled as well as the photovoltaic roof panels which provide energy. But not only is the climatic concept sustainable; the form is sustainable as well.
At the heart of BMW Welt is vehicle delivery, which forms both the spatial hub and the functional backbone of the building, and the processes connected with this function extend over almost all levels.
The new vehicles are delivered to the lower floors via their own loading yard. Here there are car washes, mechanic’s workshops, final paint inspection sites and final cleaning sites as well as a one-day storage facility, an automatic high-rise storage unit with a capacity for 250 cars. This corresponds to the maximum daily capacity of the vehicle delivery process.
The delivery and end-finish process takes place hidden from customers and visitors on an underground stage. The vehicles are then transported in transparent glass elevators to the actual delivery stage, dubbed “Premiere,” which is at the center of BMW Welt, visible from all other areas. This area is also known as the “Marina” since the vehicles are handed over to customers on rotating platforms, from where they can drive out of the building via a generously sized ramp.
Although BMW Welt is basically a public building, certain areas are open exclusively to those picking up new vehicles. For example, at the main entrances to BMW Welt customers can check into a hotel and enjoy exclusive use of two Lounge levels. The “Lounge” is integrated into the roof and thus virtually suspended over the delivery area, supported only by the utility service shafts and a column.
The necessary formalities for vehicle hand-over are taken care of in the Lounge, which also contains common areas where guests who have arrived from far away can withdraw and rest. Via a gradually descending stairway connecting the Lounge to the Marina, the customer is guided by a customer service representative to the actual hand-over point. In this process the melding of interior and exterior space or suspension of the usual separation between them also becomes tangible on the functional level.
Another key function of BMW Welt is represented by the “Forum.” Located in the north wing of the building, this section embodies in a particularly striking way the concept of spatial and visual integration coupled with the highest degree of functional independence.
The “Tower” in the southwest, looking toward the Olympia Park, represents a multifunctional area in the fullest sense of the term. Just like the Forum, it offers both encapsulated interior rooms with sight lines out into the Hall and toward the Olympia Park as well as walk-through surfaces and terraces both indoors and outdoors.
Inside BMW Welt, all publicly accessible areas, such as the Forum, Tower and Double Cone, are connected by a lightweight, sweeping bridge structure. In order to eliminate columns in the interior, the bridge was hung from the ceiling instead. At defined panorama points, curving bulges in the bridge invite guests to pause and take in the scene.
The functional and formal concept of the bridge is extended out over Lerchenauerstrasse and thus to BMW areas situated on the opposite side of the street (administration headquarters and museum), so there is no intersection with the vehicle traffic down below.
Special attention was paid to the underground networking of the various structures, so that it is possible to provide catering and supplies to the entire building from all restaurant units. The four-story underground base of BMW Welt also contains two public parking levels with up to 600 parking spaces. Access to the Hall is gained decentrally via 16 elevator groups.