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Mercedes Benz Museum. The BMW Welt (BMW World) in München, Germany is by Wolf Prix with Coop Himmelb(l)au. This addition to the them-parkish BMW is fantistical and almost futurist. The design is built around the experience of buying a BMW, and watching people buying BMWS. The driver emerges from the collosal stainless steel body with a sweeping roof that has a 800 KWatt solar plant. Visitors are spectators to the new car owner proceeding to a massive glass and steel cyclone that connects them to the freeway.
The building is a self-proclaimed commercial temple. It's far from functionalist, all about spiritualizing a commercial transaction. The exposed structure with diagonal members reminds me of the fachwerk architecture I saw in Munich. The building says "There's the cathedrals and houses you achieved in the past. Here's the future." Spiritual architecture shouldn't be off-limits by any means, but it seems shallow that such remarkable experiences shouldn't be about mere commercialism. The New York Times is riveted about this, but Architectural Record is skeptical. The building does solidify a gestalt for the complex, and it's definitely a sight you will never forget, but is this addition to our language practical? Is it good for society?
The Record remarks that an effort is made to establish site lines to the Olympic venues. The building was opened in time for the Olympics. But then, perhaps the Olympics has always been about money-making oppression...
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