History Milestones Step by step



BMW Welt opened its doors on 20 October 2007. Before this, though, there was a long way to go. After the decision to build BMW Welt had been approved in the late 1990s, the next burning question was the choice of a suitable site. It was evident that the new adventure and delivery centre had to be built on a location steeped in history, near the present BMW buildings. The best idea was provided by a competition open to all architects. This competition attracted 275 of the world’s best architects bureaus. The jury’s verdict was unanimous: the winner was the fascinating design submitted by Professor Wolf D Prix and his Viennese office Coop Himmelb(l)au. In his student days, Professor Prix had attended the lectures of Professor Karl Schwanzer, the architect of the BMW Tower (the so-called Four Cylinder Building) and the BMW Museum. During one of his presentations, Professor Schwanzer was suddenly called out. When he returned, he told his students: “I’m celebrating Christmas early this year: I’ve just won the BMW Tower!” Exactly thirty years later, Professor Prix himself was hosting a presentation in Vienna. He too was called out: “You’ve won the BMW Welt Competition!”



The ideal site for BMW Welt is where the heart of BMW has been beating for over ninety years: on the Oberwiesenfeld in Milbertshofen, directly next the BMW Group home plant, the Group’s head office, the legendary Four Cylinder Building, and the BMW Museum. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Oberwiesenfeld served as an airfield, the first in Munich. It was here that two aviation pioneers founded their companies: Gustav Otto his “Flugmaschinenfabrik” and Karl Rapp the “Motorenwerke”. In 1917, these two companies brought forth the Bayerische Motoren Werke. As early as 1919, an aircraft took off from the Oberwiesenfeld for the first successful flight on record. Fitted with a BMW IV aero engine, it rose to an altitude of over 9760 metres – a world record.

From the plans and building preparations in 2003 to the inauguration in 2007. Take a look at the highlights in the history of BMW Welt, and click through the milestones. Have fun!


HIGHLIGHTS 2003–2012.

2003 Planning and construction preparations

The planning phase ended on August 1st with the start of construction work: with the well-known firm of architects Coop Himmelb(l)au as the chief planner and some 30 sub-planners, over 120 architects and engineers were involved in total. The Parkhaus West and the Park-and-Ride areas were cleared for the building project.

2004 The laying of the foundation stone

During the specialised underground civil engineering work between January and June 2004, soil was excavated to a depth of 14 metres. The celebrations for the laying of the foundation stone took place before work started on the building shell on July 16th 2004, with the then Bavarian Prime Minister Dr. Edmund Stoiber and the Mayor of Munich Christian Ude in attendance.

2005 The topping-out ceremony

At the beginning of 2005, the numerous architects and construction staff started on the structural steelwork and the first sections of the building began to be visible. Facade construction also proceeded swiftly as the building took on increasingly concrete shape. The topping-out ceremony was held on July 1st 2005.

2006 Building completion

Once the building had been completed, detailed finishing and interior decoration got underway, glass sections were installed, the roof was closed over and the biggest crane on the construction site was dismantled. Work started on the assembly of the photovoltaic system.

2007 Interior fittings

After completion of the interior and the bridge to the BMW Museum, the BMW Welt opening ceremony was held on October 20th 2007.

2007 Ceremonial Act

Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of the BMW AG, opened the BMW Welt at approximately 12 midday on October 17th. A total of 800 invited guests and press representatives celebrated this great moment together.

2007 Open Days

During the opening weekend on October 20th and 21st 2007, some 80,000 guests took advantage of the opportunity to explore the new event and delivery centre of the brand BMW before it took up regular business.

2008 Official award: The BMW Welt is a “Landmark in the Land of Ideas”

The BMW Welt was named a “Selected Landmark of 2008” on February 10th as part of the initiative “Germany – Land of Ideas” under the sponsorship of President Horst Köhler. Rudolf Wiedemann, Head of the BMW Welt, was handed the certificate by Stefan Bruckner, Marketing Director of “Land of Ideas” at an official ceremony prior to the Sunday jazz matinee at the Double Cone of the BMW Welt. The presentation speech was given by Dr. Ekkehard Lechler of Deutsche Bank.

2008 One million visitors: the BMW Welt welcomes a special guest

At 1.39 pm on March 13th, the millionth visitor entered the BMW Welt. The special guest received a gift package when collecting his new BMW 5 Series Touring. Since its opening in October 2007, the BMW Welt in the north of Munich has become a real crowd puller, now among the top 5 of the most popular sights in the Bavarian capital.

2008 Prize-winning architecture: BMW Welt wins the RIBA European Award

Regal recognition for BMW Welt from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA): this year, the BMW event and delivery centre is among the winners of the renowned RIBA European Award for buildings of outstanding architectural quality. The award went to the architect team Coop Himmelb(l)au and BMW as the proprietor for such elements as the “spectacular, cloud-like roof” of the BMW Welt.

2008 BMW Welt wins at the World Architecture Festival

At the World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Barcelona, BMW Welt was awarded the WAF Award 2008 in the category “Production” The event and delivery centre built by BMW and the Viennese architect’s bureau Coop Himmelb(l)au faced competition from 19 other entries. The rationale of the jury: “Deeply indebted to Le Corbusier’s urge for discovery and the dedication to experimental culture, Wolf D. Prix endeavours to create new meanings and forms in architecture.”

2008 Certified quality: BMW Welt receives ISO and VDA certificates

BMW Welt is the first event and delivery centre in the world to receive a certificate based on the automobile norm VDA 6.2 from TÜV Rheinland in addition to the test certificate DIN EN ISO 9001. The VDA norm refers specifically to services in the automobile industry and was developed by the automobile association VDA. Both norms require a seamless, systematic procedure for determining and implementing customer requirements. Quality is experienced directly by the customer: this is the particular challenge in the service field, and the fact that it is implemented at BMW Welt day by day is impressively confirmed by TÜV Rheinland.

2009 Wallpaper Design Award: BMW Welt is the “Best New Public Building"

The annual Wallpaper Design Award in the category “Best New Public Building” goes to BMW Welt in 2009. The rationale for giving the award to the BMW event and delivery centre was as follows: “The new and dynamic Coop Himmelb(l)au creation for BMW in Munich is not just a groundbreaking automobile collection centre but also a place of display, communication and public interaction.” The influential design and lifestyle magazine “Wallpaper” is regarded by architects, designers and other creatives as a trendsetter in the sector.

2011 A record year for BMW Welt

Over 2.3 million guests visited BMW Welt in 2011 - 25 per cent more than the year before. This makes it the most popular tourist attraction in Bavaria. Guided tours of BMW Welt, the BMW Museum and the BMW Plant were also much in demand last year: all in all over 100,000 people took the opportunity to get know the BMW brand at close quarters.

2012 10 millionth visitor

On July 4th 2012, BMW Welt welcomed its ten millionth guest since opening. Thomas Muderlak, the Director of BMW Welt, together with BMW brand ambassador His Royal Highness Prince Leopold of Bavaria, greeted anniversary visitor Patrick Z. from Landsberg am Lech in person, who was the happy recipient of a very special gift: for ten weeks Patrick Z. can enjoy characteristic BMW driving pleasure in an Z4.

2012 BMW Welt expansion

In autumn 2011 the BMW Group Board of Management made the strategic decision to expand BMW Welt to include all active brands. After a reconstruction phase in 2012, carried out while maintaining day-to-day operations, the BMW Welt expansion was completed on October 20th/21st and celebrated in grand style with an event weekend welcoming visitors from all over Bavaria. From now on, visitors can not only experience the fascination of the brand BMW but also MINI, Rolls-Royce and Husqvarna.

Event calendar.

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BMW Welt exhibitions.

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