Mercedes Benz Museum
The Museum’s sophisticated geometry synthesizes structural and programmatic organizations resulting in a new landmark building celebrating a legendary car. The geometric model employed is based on the trefoil organization. The building’s program is distributed over the surfaces which ascend incrementally from ground level, spiraling around a central atrium. The Museum experience begins with visitors traveling up through the atrium to the top floor from where they follow the two main paths that unfold chronologically as they descend through the building. The two main trajectories, one being the car and truck collection and the other consisting of historical displays called the Legend rooms, spiral downwards on the perimeter of the display platforms, intersecting with each other at several points allowing the visitor to change routes.
The Mercedes Benz Museum intricately combines structure and content. The Museum is dedicated to a legendary car; its unique structure has been specifically devised to showcase a collection in which technology, adventure, attractiveness and distinction are merged. It is also a Museum for people to freely move through, to dream, learn, look and let themselves be oriented by fascinations, light and space…
Lastly, it is a Museum for the city, a new landmark to celebrate the enduring passion of Stuttgart’s most famous inventor and manufacturer.
The structure of the MB Museum is based on a trefoil; both in its internal organization and in its outward expression this geometry responds to the car-driven context of the museum. Inside, walking down the ramps of the Museum, surrounded by cars of different ages and types, the visitor is reminded of driving down the highway. Outside, the smooth curves of the building echo the rounded vernacular of nearby industrial and event spaces, such as the soccer stadium, the Mercedes-Benz test course, and the gas and oil tanks along the river, as well as the recurrent loops of the road system on site.
The building also implicitly radiates the qualities that we see as the best of our times; good quality materials, durability, character, neatness. In its materialization the MB Museum reproduces the values that we associate with Mercedes Benz: technological advancement, intelligence, and stylishness. Once inside, the visitor should feel both stimulated and comfortable.
The 25 000 m2 MB Museum is situated next to the Daimler-Chrysler Untertuerkheim plant on a raised platform which also offers room to the Vehicle Center. Visitors enter the building from the northwest corner. The entrance lobby introduces to the visitor the organizational system of the Museum, which entails the distribution of the two types of exhibitions over three ‘leaves’, which are connected to a central ‘stem’ in the form of an atrium. The entrance lobby, besides practical functions, contains an escalator that leads down to the ground level, and three lifts that take visitors up to the top of the building.
The visitor proceeds through the Museum from top to bottom; during the ride up the atrium, visitors are provided with a multimedia Preshow presentation. The two aspects of the museological arrangement, the collection of cars and trucks and the Myths, are ordered chronologically from top to bottom, starting with the three oldest cars at the top floor in the display dedicated to the invention of the car. From this starting point at the top, the +eight level, the visitor may take one of two spiralling ramps down; the first chain linking the collection of cars and trucks, and the second the connecting Mythos rooms, which are the secondary displays related to the history of Mercedes Benz. The two spiralling trajectories cross each other continuously, mimicking the interweaving strands of a DNA helix, thus making it possible for the visitor to change trajectories.
The downward incline of the two interlocking trajectories is confined to the ramps at the perimeter of the building only; the platforms that function as display areas themselves are level, with the slow gradients of the walkways bridging the height differences between them. The platforms, the ‘leaves’ of the trefoil, are arranged around the central ‘stem’ of the atrium in This structure generates exciting spatial constellations, enabling a wide range of look-through options, shortcuts, enclosed and open spaces, and the potential for continuity and cross-references in the various displays.
The collection of cars and trucks is shown in combination on five plateaus. Seven plateaus show the Myths and, at the lowest levels, Races and Records and the Fascination of Technology. At ground level, below the elevated landscape, and accessed by the escalator at the entrance level, are the Children’s Museum, several small shops and a restaurant, which are housed in a large and open-plan space that connects the Museum to the nearby Vehicle Center.
Project name: Mercedes Benz Museum
Location: Mercedes Strasse 100, Stuttgart, Germany
Site Area: 62,000 m2
Building Area: 25,000 m2
Gross Floor Area: 35,000 m2
Building Volume: 200,000 m3
Project Year: 2001-2006
Client / Owner / Developer: DaimlerChrysler Immobilien, Berlin
- UNStudio Design Team: Ben van Berkel, Tobias Wallisser, Caroline Bos, Marco Hemmerling, Hannes Pfau and Wouter de Jonge, Arjan Dingsté, Götz Peter Feldmann, Björn Rimner, Sebastian Schaeffer, Andreas Bogenschuetz, Uli Horner, Ivonne Schickler, Dennis Ruarus, Erwin Horstmanshof, Derrick Diporedjo, Nanang Santoso, Robert Brixner, Alexander Jung, Matthew Johnston, Rombout Loman, Arjan van der Bliek, Fabian Evers, Nuno Almeida, Ger Gijzen, Tjago Nunes, Boudewijn Rosman, Ergian Alberg, Gregor Kahlau, Mike Herud, Thomas Klein, Simon Streit, Taehoon Oh, Jenny Weiss, Philipp Dury, Carin Lamm, Anna Carlquist, Jan Debelius, Daniel Kalani, Evert
- Wenzel + Wenzel Team: Matias Wenzel, Markus Schwarz, Clemens Schulte-Mattler, Ina Karbon
- Team: Nicola Kühnle, Florian Erhard, Michael Fischinger, Christoph Friedrich, Peter Holzer, Christopf Krinn, Stefan Linder, Simon Schneider, Walter Ulrich, Gabriele Völker, Katrin Widmann, Christina Brecher, Stefanie Hertwerck, Ingolf Gössel, Ulla Ittensohn, Volker Hilpert, Thomas Koch, Ulrike Kolb, Bendix Pallesen-Mustikay, Marc Schwesinger and Thuy Duong Du, Kathrin Steimle, Florian Goscheff, Thomas Hertlein, Yvonne Galdys, Deniz Hocaoglu, Katerina Karapanceva, Anka Volk, Patrick Yong
Exhibition Concept and Design: HG Merz
Interior: UNStudio with Concrete Architectural Associates
Curtain Design: Inside Outside (Petra Blaisse)
Structure: Werner Sobek Ingenieure
Geometry: Arnold Walz
Climate Engineering: Transsolar Energietechnik
Cost Estimation: Nanna Fütterer
Infrastructure: Arup (David Johnston)
Landscaping: Knoll Ökoplan
Text Description: © Courtesy of UNStudio
Images: © Christian Richters, Brigida Gonzalez, Michael Schnell, Rein Werkhoven
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