Design meets function The BMW Welt statics and technology



The futuristic BMW Welt architecture is unique. An extension of the underlying Double Cone geometry, the roof takes on the form of a 16,000 m² cloud that appears to float on its supporting structure of only twelve socketed columns. Its basis consists of an upper and lower grid stratum with cells of five by five metres. Between these strata are diagonal struts that interlock the grids into a spatial supporting structure. This powerful and dynamic eyecatcher is perfected by the Double Cone in a prominent position at the head of the entire structure. Caught in a whirl of glass and steel, the tornado twists upward and ends in a roof that takes on the form of a floating, flying cloud. Generated by the dynamic twists of the two supporting strata, this tornado functions as the main bearing for the roof.



The architectural concept behind the BMW Welt unites design and function in equal measure. This is demonstrated, for instance, in the filigree steel structure that is also responsible for the air conditioning at BMW Welt. The solar energy passing through the roof and facades therefore augments the heating in the building, and its large walled areas contribute to ventilation. And the glass envelopes help to maintain the surface temperature at a comfortable level. Outside greenery, particularly at the natural ventilation elements, bind dust and generate a cooling effect at the same time.

The construction of BMW Welt required 4000 tons of steel. About a quarter of this was built into the Double Cone alone. With a height of 28 metres and 48 metres in circumference, it presents a wasp waste of 14 metres exactly at its centre. Every single one of the steel sections was manufactured with its own, special template, and every one had to keep within two millimetres of the design specifications. These sections also function as ducts for key data cables.

The Double Cone concludes at the so-called Ring Beam, which evenly distributes the load from the roof and transfers it to the ground via the outer facade. Although the roof and Double Cone form the one piece in terms of statics, the Double Cone at the same time functions as a key support for the 16,000 m² roof structure. For the roof to give the appearance of a floating cloud, great importance was attached to a small number of visible supports. Only eleven columns support the roof, which could arch over the Piazza San Marco in Venice.

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