BMW Central Building

Zaha Hadid Architects, Leipzig, 2005


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The building at night 

Hélène Binet (website)     Download Original

  • The building at night    
  • Aerial view of the BMW Central Building    
  • Rooflights bring in light into the building below, they are visible as the light shines back out hough them in this night view    
  • Blue lighting adds a touch of drama in the monochrome spaces.    
  • All elements are linear with longitudinal views highlighted to maximise the relation to speed    
  • The interior space from an upper level    
  • The elevated conveyor tracks run above the main space    
  • The overhead conveyors    
  • Special nodes (top left) turn the cars around on their silent journey    
  • The staircases are entirely in keeping with the aesthetic of the whole building    
  • The main staircase    
  • A view from the upper floor looking down into the main space below    
  • The building maintains an industrial aesthetic whilst looking sleek and finished    
  • Interior detailing of curved concrete    
  • The large glazed facade    
  • The building is used for the manufacturing of BMWs    
  • The cafe    
  • The Stirling Prize judges inspect the building    
  • The Stirling Prize judges inspect the building    
  • The Stirling Prize judges inspect the building    
  • The Stirling Prize judges inspect the main space    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Second floor plan    
  • North-south elevation    
  • East-west section    
  • Exploded axonometric    
  • Initial sketch: ideas of movement informed the design    
  • Development sketch    
  • Development sketch    
  • Development sketch    
  • Conveyor belt detail    

Offices and technical spaces for car manufacturing plant BMW, in Leipzig, Germany

The structure is essentially a link building between the simple industrial sheds that constitute the remainder of the huge production plant. Cars have to be transported from one shed to another and the 500 office and production staff are encouraged to move freely throughout the space.

Elevated conveyor tracks allow half-finished cars to be seen overhead, along with other activities on the production line. The conveyors leave the floor plan unobstructed.

Aside from a large reception hall for 2000 people, the open-plan space is broken up by multiple level changes, with office space arranged in 'cascades'. The result is an interior that reads like an interior landscape rather than as a conventional office space.

The building is expressed in a near monochrome palette of dark-grey stone floors and exposed concrete walls. There is only one external elevation as the building is surrounded on three sides and this is rather more discreet, with the entrance to the building under a flying concrete bridge.


  • Begun: Mar 2003
  • Completed: Feb 2005
  • Floor area: 27,000m2
  • Sectors: Industrial, Office
  • Total cost: £37M
  • Tender date: Dec 2002
  • Address: BMW Allee 1, Leipzig, 04349, Germany

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