BMW Central Building
Our Central Building for BMW constituted a radical reinterpretation of the traditional office– transforming the building and the functions it contains into a more dynamic, engaging ‘nerve-centre’ or ‘communication knoť – funneling all movement around the manufacturing complex through a space that transcends conventional white collar/blue collar spatial divisions We conceived the Central Building, positioned between other existing or planned structures, as an orientating and animating force field, a compression chamber through which all movement converged, from the cycles and trajectories of workers to the production line itself, which traversed this central point.
Within the building, following a primary ‘scissor-section’ strategy, two sequences of terraced plates step up like giant staircases from north to south and from south to north, creating a continuous connection. One cascade begins close to the public lobby overlooking the forum to reach the first floor in the middle of the building. The second starts with the cafeteria at the south end, moving up to meet the first cascade then all the way up to the space projecting over the entrance. At the bottom of the void between the floors the auditing area – a central focus of attention.
Above the void, half-finished cars are open to view moving along their tracks between the surrounding production units. In stark contrast to conventional, functionally-exclusive offices, employees are integrated through transparent internal organisation that mixes functions and traditional status groups, from engineering to administrative, white collar to blue collar – preventing the establishment of exclusive domains. A large car park is transformed into a dynamic spectacle in its own right, showcasing the lively, sparkling, moving field of car bodies in the aarrangement of parking lots. Here, cars swoop underneath and set visitors down as they are greeted by views through the glazed public lobby, deep into the building.
BMW’s bold objective functional industrial architecture into a new ‘aesthetic’ to use the new Central Building at its Leipzig manufacturing centre as a transition zone between manufacturing halls and public spaces, from which all the complex’s activities gathered and branched out.
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