BMW Welt opened its doors on 20th October 2007 – the culmination of years of planning. After the decision to build BMW Welt was approved in the late 1990s, the next burning question was the choice of a suitable site. It was evident that the new event 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!”
From planning and preparation in 2003 to the grand opening in 2007, you can explore the highlights of the history of BMW Welt by clicking through our milestones. Have fun!
The planning phase ended on 1st August 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.
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 16th July 2004, with the then Bavarian Prime Minister Dr. Edmund Stoiber and the Mayor of Munich Christian Ude in attendance.
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 an increasingly concrete shape. The topping-out ceremony was held on 1st July 2005.
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 then started on the assembly of the photovoltaic system.
Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of BMW AG, opened BMW Welt at approximately 12 midday on 17th October. A total of 800 invited guests and press representatives celebrated this great moment together. During the opening weekend on 20th and 21st October 2007, some 80,000 guests took advantage of the opportunity to explore the BMW brand’s new event and delivery centre before it took up regular business.
BMW Welt was named a ‘Selected Landmark of 2008’ on 10th February as part of the ‘Germany – Land of Ideas’ initiative under the sponsorship of President Horst Köhler. Regal recognition for BMW Welt came from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA): this year, the BMW event and delivery centre was among the winners of the renowned RIBA European Award for buildings of outstanding architectural quality. At the World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Barcelona, BMW Welt was awarded the WAF Award 2008 in the ‘Production’ category.
At 1.39pm on 13th March, the millionth visitor entered BMW Welt. The special guest received a gift package when collecting his new BMW 5 Series Touring. Since opening its doors in October 2007, BMW Welt in the north of Munich has become a real crowd-puller, and now ranks among the five most popular sights in the Bavarian capital.
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 DIN EN ISO 9001 test certificate. The VDA norm refers specifically to services in the automobile industry and was developed by the VDA automobile association. Both norms require a seamless, systematic procedure for determining and implementing customer requirements. Quality is experienced directly by the customer.
The annual Wallpaper Design Award in the category ‘Best New Public Building’ went 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 ground-breaking 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.
Over 2.3 million guests visited BMW Welt in 2011 – 25% 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.
On 4th July 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. could enjoy characteristic BMW driving pleasure in a Z4.
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 20th/21st October 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 BMW brand, but also that of MINI, Rolls-Royce and Husqvarna.
BMW Welt is one of the first buildings representing a new generation of communication buildings for the 21st century. This is where the corporation goes into dialogue with its customers, friends and visitors from all over the world – a place of meeting and of change.
The open style of architecture and the glass facade allow a lot of light into the rooms and open up the building to its surroundings. Simultaneously, BMW Welt harmonically blends into the context of the architecture of the Olympiapark and the existing BMW buildings.
The interior of BMW Welt proves just as remarkable as its architecture. Even the smallest detail conveys to the visitors the notion of uniqueness. Different room perspectives, an easy orientation and a maximum of comfort create the right atmosphere in which to present the BMW Group brands – BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars – as an impressive experience. This means to see, feel, hear, smell, and taste the brands – in brief, to experience the world of the brands of BMW Group with all the senses.
In December 2001, following in-depth debates, the Board of BMW AG voted in favour of the architectural concept by Coop Himmelb(l)au. The outstanding concept of BMW Welt is very much characterised by the unique roof structure and the so-called Double Cone.
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 just twelve socketed columns. Its base 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 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 construction of BMW Welt required 4,000 tons of steel. About a quarter of this was built into the Double Cone alone. At a height of 28 metres and 48 metres in circumference, it presents a wasp waist of 14 metres at its very centre. Every one of the steel sections was manufactured with its own, special template, and each one had to be 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 a single piece in terms of statics, the Double Cone also 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.
BMW WELT POLICY ON QUALITY, THE ENVIRONMENT AND OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY.
With its corporate strategy ‘Number ONE next’, the BMW Group pursues the goal of being the world’s leading supplier of premium products and premium services for individual mobility. Outstanding quality, process orientation and sustainable management along the entire value creation chain go without saying in this context, as do the creation and maintenance of secure and performance-enhancing work conditions for all employees and partners.
Quality, environmental protection and occupational safety are regarded as the comprehensive responsibility of all BMW Group managers and employees. Their awareness of quality and the environment is promoted through the twelve fundamental BMW Group convictions and the principle of ongoing improvement. The high aspirations of the BMW Group naturally apply to BMW Welt, too.
As the company’s showcase and its largest collection and experience centre, BMW Welt is the BMW Group’s most important permanent, international and public platform. Here, visitors and customers are given the unique opportunity to experience all the brands, topics and future perspectives of the company in a unique and innovative way.
In order to guarantee that this experience is of the very highest quality, some 600 employees work to optimise all processes on an ongoing basis. Quality throughout the full range of processes is the requirement for excellence. For this reason, it is essential to focus on customers’ interests and professional process orientation. In doing so, we select the processes that are most effective, efficient and sustainable for BMW Welt.
Based on the BMW Group environmental guidelines, environmental goals are set according to the principle of continuous improvement as part of goal management. The legal context and other requirements are taken into consideration here, as are key environmental aspects, technological options, the general financial, operational and business-related conditions, and the points of view of interested groups (customers, society, politics, investors, etc.). It goes without saying that the observation of all legal obligations and statutory requirements is fundamental.
At BMW Welt, a secure work environment is provided for employees and partners that promotes health and excellence. What is more, since we are a public venue, we also take our responsibility for visitors very seriously and endeavour to provide a secure and ecologically sound visitor experience down to the last detail.
The relevant key performance figures are regularly compiled and assessed. Communication with external interested groups and authorities is always carried out through or by agreement with the BMW Group press offices responsible.
It is our stated aim to keep these promises and continue to develop and improve on an ongoing basis in order to continuously raise the standards we have set ourselves.