Mercedes Benz Museum by UN Studio

Mercedes Benz Museum UN Studio

Mercedes Benz Museum UN Studio

This building is roundish: it’s the Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart designed by UN Studio. The project generated lots of attention when the building was completed in 2006, so you can garner a little street cred with your architecture friends if you casually bring it up. You could talk about the novel approach to circulation or how the elevators look like retro spaceships or even that the museum helped set a world record for the largest indoor artificially-created tornado (see video below). The tornado is actually part of the building’s fire suppression system. Most fire-related deaths are due to smoke inhalation, and the vortex sucks the smoke right out of the building through its atrium.

I haven’t had to opportunity to visit the building, so it’s hard for me to wrap my head around its geometry. From what I can tell, the museum is a kind of double helix where the two paths cross on each level. Each level is not circular, but shaped like a three-leafed clover. Typical of UN Studio, the walls and floors morph from one to the other, further complicating my understanding of the building’s form. But no matter how poorly I understand it, the project is stunning.


May 3, 2011