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BMW Munich: OMA/Vogt and 3XN/Latz win

Laura von Puttkamer
München

OMA/Vogt and 3XN/Latz win the competition “Urban Production” for the new BMW company premises in Munich.

BMW Munich: new company premises, winning design @ BMW Group

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In autumn 2021, BMW asked six architectural firms to design a master plan for the company’s 100-year-old main plant in Munich. According to the newspaper SZ, the designs by OMA/Vogt and by 3XN/Latz are the favourites. Read all about it here.

BMW’s main plant is located in the north of Munich. According to the SZ, it is currently a grey, forbidding building behind the company’s headquarters, the Vierzylinder. Many residents do not know what is going on inside and even complain about blocked paths.

BMW Munich’s Main Plant

In October 2021, BMW launched a competition to give the main plant a new look. That’s because the automaker wants to create more of a connection to the city and the Olympic Park. Accordingly, it invited six architectural firms to create a master plan under the motto “BMW Munich – Urban Production.” In February 2022, instead of a winner, two favourites were announced. They have been asked to submit a more detailed concept by May.

The Two Winning Designs

Two of the designs in the competition were very promising. As a result, BMW Munich has not yet been able to make a final decision. One favourite design comes from the architectural firm OMA from Rotterdam, headed by Rem Koolhaas. In cooperation with Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten and the Milan-based firm Systematica, Koolhas presented a design for large, museum-like entrance gates and a transparent glass opening onto the Olympic Park.

The other favourite design is the design by the architectural firm 3XN from Copenhagen. The firm has already designed the basketball sports arena in Munich’s Olympic Park. For the BMW Munich competition, 3XN has teamed up with landscape architecture firm Latz. Their vision centres on green roofs on the main plant as well as an accessible walkway for citizens and BMW fans that will lead from west to east through the plant.

Both favoured designs lighten up the main plant using glass, greenery, transparency and nature. They want to transform the BMW Munich headquarters into a modern production campus. The jury unanimously decided that both designs were equal winners, as the tasks were interpreted very well.

“The two first prizes impress with very different qualities. They have great potential for a master plan that does justice to the special, inner-city location of the BMW plant in Munich and makes it fit for the future,” said Munich’s Mayor Dieter Reiter.

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BMW Munich: new company premises, winning design @ BMW Group

The Jury

The jury for the BMW Munich competition consisted of Munich’s Mayor Dieter Reiter, as well as BMW board members Ilka Horstmeister and Dr. Milan Nedeljkovic, City Planning Councillor Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Merk and City Director Michael Hardi. The jury also included city planning executives, renowned architects and landscape architects, traffic planners and other representatives from the Munich City Council and the Milbershofen/Am Hart district committee.

In addition to OMA and 3XN, the architectural firms Allmann Sattler Wappner from Munich, Ernst Niklaus Fausch from Zurich, HENN from Munich and Spacecouncil from Zurich also participated in the competition. The competition was accompanied by information events with residents. Further planning is also to be participatory.

“With the competition, we want to fulfil our social responsibility and actively participate in the neighbourhood development around the plant. In this way, we are creating a sustainable working and production environment for the long term. In doing so, we are focusing our holistic view primarily on the aspects of traffic connections, neighbourhoods, and sustainability,” says Nicole Haft-Zboril, Head of Real Estate Management at the BMW Group.

A Green, Industrial Heart in the Middle of the City

Until now, BMW Munich’s main plant has focused on the 3- and 4-series models and internal combustion engines. Now, however, a change is imminent: the growing interest in electric vehicles has prompted the company to change its production. There are already 7,000 BMW Munich employees producing the i4 – a sporty, battery-electric sedan in 3 Series format.

For this, there are now to be two new halls that are better suited to the production of e-cars. As part of this electrification of the traditional main plant, BMW also wants to present a more contemporary image to the outside world, both to customers and to employees and citizens.

The unusual location of the main plant in the middle of the city will not make the conversion easy. At the same time, the location offers many opportunities for greater transparency and innovation. This is why the buzzword “Urban production” is at the heart of BMW Munich’s efforts, as the architecture competition shows.

The Next 100 Years at BMW Munich

The current main BMW Munich plant was built in 2022. During the Second World War, there was a production pause of six years. Production of motorcycles resumed in 1948, followed by the production of automobiles in 1951. The BMW 1500 represented a breakthrough as the first model of the “New Class”.

The planned structural change is now to steer the next 100 years at BMW Munich. The transformation to electric mobility will begin at the car company’s main plant. As part of this, BMW will outsource engine manufacturing. By 2024, the company will only build fully electric cars in Munich. This New Class will be at the centre of production from 2025.

BMW master plan

To prepare the main BMW Munich plant for the next decades, there will be a master plan. BMW will incorporate the results from the competition into this vision of the future.

In the meantime, however, the main plant has quite different problems to deal with: Starting next week, the assembly lines will be at a standstill because cable harnesses from Ukraine are missing. It is not yet clear what will happen after the production stop, which will initially last a week.

Speaking of Ukraine and Munich: Benedikt Hartl, an architect from Munich, has an alternative proposal for using the pipes of the gas pipeline Nord Stream 2.

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