BMW Welt development and construction records
Part of:
  • COOP HIMMELB(L)AU (archive creator)
  • Wolf Prix (architect)
  • Paul Kath (architect)
  • Tom Wiscombe (architect)

BMW Welt development and construction records



Level of archival description:
Extent and medium:
  • Approximately 52,430 digital files (166 GB)
    52 models
Scope and content:
Series 1, BMW Welt development and construction records, 1994-2015, documents the design development and construction phases of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU BMW Welt building, located nearby the BMW headquarters in Munich. This series also contains some materials from the competition phase, corresponding to less than 2000 digital files, and models from the third phase of the competition. More than half of the records were created from 2003 to 2006.

Records show how COOP HIMMELB(L)AU, and the numerous consultants on the project, materialized the original concept, from Wolf Prix sketch, of this cloud-like roof emerging from a double cone suggesting an hurricane eye. To achieve this, extensive digital structural testing was done with engineers Bollinger + Grohmann. Consultants list also include:

- Hans Lechner ZT GmbH for in-house project management;
- Schmitt, Stumpf, Frühauf + Partner for construction documents of concrete works, interior fittings, tender and construction administration;
- Emmer Pfenninger + Partner AG for the facade;
- Transsolar, Klima Engineering for the photovoltaic plant on the roof;
- PRO, Elektroplan for electrical systems and lifts;
- AG-Licht for lighting;
- Büro Dr. Pfeiler for structural physics or building physics;
- Theater Projekte Daberto+Kollegen for the stage and auditorium;
- PBB Planungsbüro Balke for kitchen technology
- realgruen Landschaftsarchitekten for lansdcape design;
- Kersken & Kirchner for fire protection;
- TAW Weisse for height accessibility planning, in consideration for maintenance access;
- Lang & Brukhardt for traffic engineering;
- Ingenieurbüro Schoenenberg for civil engineering and road construction;
- Büro für Gestaltung / Wangler & Abele for signage;
- And Zilch, Müller, Henneke as inspection engineers.

The approximately 52,400 digital files include raster images, CAD drawings and 3D digital models, plotter files, standard office documents, databases, and scripts. Design files are predominantly in AutoCAD, but the archive also includes over 1,100 Rhinoceros files (primarily in Rhino version 2, with some files in versions 3 and 4) and a smaller number of files in Maya, 3D Studio, Microstation, form*Z, and Revit formats. Because the firm’s computing environment included Macs, the archive also includes a few AppleDouble resource forks. Often, CAD drawings were also saved as PDF files. Photographs and screen captures were most times saved as JPEG files. Finally, design files also include wireframes and renderings.

Most often, design files are plans of a designated area, a complete level of the building for example, but they also often show very specific and technical details, such as a few millimetres to be corrected on a panel or a structural element. These types of corrections are frequently shown in PDF files where annotations were either made digitally, or they were handwritten on a printed version which would then be digitized. Design files document all parts of the building including the facade, the roof, the double cone (Doppelkegel), the restaurants, the shops, the exhibition areas, the auditorium, etc.

Accompanying textual records are at times quite technical in their content, such as lists of construction elements required in a given room, or analysis reports from consulting engineers. They also take into account the organization and planning of the work, for example including documentation’s exchange or meeting agendas. Finally, they show the design development through presentations, either PDF or Powerpoint files, and through a portfolio of the project and the preparation of the book Dynamic Forces.

The archive’s physical component includes 52 physical study models, which were used in combination with digital modeling tools to iteratively refine the building’s design. These are a selection made by the firm of study models from the later stages of the competition and the early stages of the design development.

Feireiss, Kristin, editor. “Dynamic Forces, BMW WELT Munich”. Munich: Prestel Verlag, 2007.
Reference number:


Physical characteristics and technical requirements:

Models of BMW Welt transferred to the CCA were rehoused and cleaned of dust and mould by the CCA Conservation team. Gloves should still be used when handling them. Some models are quite fragile and should be manipulated with great care.

These materials were arranged by the donor at the time of their creation. Records were kept in their original directory structure, which shows the firm’s organization of work. Main directories now correspond to file-level descriptions.

Within sub-directories, the following standardized structure may be found:
A_SV_Eingang (SV_Incoming)
B_SV_Ausgang (SV_Outgoing)
C_Protokolle/Pruefberichte (Meeting minutes/Test reports)
D_Berichte/Grundlagen_Berichte (Reports/Basic reports)
E_Nachtrag (Addendum)
F_Termine/Genehmigungen (Dates/Permits)
G_Pläne (Plans)
H_grundlagen HBL (Basics HBL)
I_Raumbuch_Elektro/Organsiationshandbuch (Room book_Electrical/Organisation handbook)
J_Projektaenderungen/Verwaltung_Raumbuch (Project changes/Administration room book)
K_Aenderungsmanagement (Change management)

As indicated, there are some differences in the name of a given element of the structure. Subdirectories related to Incoming and Outgoing communications (“A_SV_Eingang “, “B_SV_Ausgang”), Dates or Permits (“F_Termine/Genehmigungen “), and Plans (“G_Pläne”) are the ones that are the most used across the archive. Similar terms are also used independently from this structure. Additionally, lower directory levels are often organized by year or date. Generally, files and directories are named meaningfully.

Models have been arranged under one file-level description.

Munich Germany

Language of material:
  • German

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