An elegance of dynamics drives the design of the new BMW Welt – a stunning solar-powered shrine to German auto engineering. Crafted by world renowned architect Wolf Prix of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU, this sculptural, high-performance structure opened in October to serve as BMW’s center for refinement of brand experience and vehicle delivery in Munich.
The architecture is an experiment in fluid spatial encounters. Outside, BMW Welt’s steel and glass façade whirls seamlessly into the Double Cone – a dynamic 48 meter wide helical feature that provides structural support to the building’s floating “Cloud Roof.” Across the 16,500 m2 (177,500 ft2) expanse of roof BMW has installed an impressive flat roof-integrated PV system made up of 3,660 solar modules. Manufactured by SOLARWATT and installed by SunStrom the array delivers a minimum power capacity of 824kWp (kilowatt-peak).
A network of high-grade steel panels between solar modules on the roof captures solar gain which is distributed throughout the building for heating. The building also nets solar energy through the façade which works to moderate conditioned air and provide natural ventilation. Thermally efficient surfaces inside help to maintain constant thermal comfort and control temperature swings. Vegetation near ventilation elements helps cool incoming air in warmer months and filters dust particles year round.
The facility includes the premium lounge for new car owners, a public gallery, conference suite and children’s center. The Double Cone will act as a media dome for exhibitions and events accommodating up to 450 people. BMW anticipates over 800,000 visitors per year.
Total digs cover 73,000 m2 (about 785,000 ft2) with 60% of the gross floor area underground. The projected energy reduction from the solar photovoltaic and integrated design systems is 30%.