Munich: BMW Welt / Museum

There was a great sense of theatre in the BMW World center for vehicle delivery, and the bookstore had an interesting array of design and architeture books in addition to the expected volumes on cars.

The BMW Museum showcases the history of the BMW company, its brand and its products in an innovative and fascinating presentation format. Displayed over 5,000 square metres of exhibition space are around 125 of the brand’s most precious and appealing cars, motorcycles and engines.

The BMW Museum sees itself as a “traffic complex”. Visitors are guided along a route extending some 1,000 metres, passing buildings, rooms and plazas. The exhibition is theme-based rather than chronologically structured, allowing the highlighting of developments through various areas such as design, engines and motor sport.

The BMW Museum was opened in 1973 as one of the first brand museums; in 2008 it was redesigned and extended. In conjunction with the BMW production plant and BMW Welt, it constitutes the “brand experience” in Munich. This is where the company’s past, present and future come together.

The museum architecture, and exhibition and media design form an ideal setting to present the rich tapestry of themes in a very special way. The BMW Museum takes new approaches by integrating contemporary architecture with the historic buildings in the same way as the brand is always setting new and innovative benchmarks for engineering and design.

During construction operations carried out between 2004 and 2008, the museum bowl was restored to its original 1973 state. A central visitors’ ramp in the bowl connected a system of seemingly hovering platforms. The interpretation of the ramp as a road and the exhibition areas as squares became integrated into the neighbouring flat building in the new conception of the Museum by the architects and exhibition designers of Atelier Brückner:

The exterior façade of this rectangular building was preserved as a “historical shell” whereas the ceiling structures were removed and the interior completely gutted. Contemporary architecture was integrated into the newly-created large total space consisting of a surrounding ramp and seven individual exhibition houses. This glass-and-steel architecture creates a conscious contrast to the bowl.

This presents itself to the outside as a self-contained, massive concrete sculpture and its interior is dominated by the character of an open overall space whereas the architecture of the low building makes a more urban impression. Both building sections, the round and low constructions, are connected with each other via a visitors’ ramp, which leads the guests to all of the 25 exhibition areas.