Mercedes-Benz Museum

UN studio van Berkel & Bos, Amsterdam/Netherlands

Planning time
2002 − 2004

Construction time
2004 − 2006

Services by Werner Sobek
Structural engineering
Facade engineering (in a consortium with DS-Plan)

Daimler Immobilien GmbH, Berlin/Germany

German Architecture Award – Distinction
Mies van der Rohe Award – Finalist
Architecture Award Concrete
Hugo Häring Award

Christian Richters, Münster/Germany
Roland Halbe, Stuttgart/Germany
Brigida Gonzalez, Stuttgart/Germany

The new Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart is a distinctive city landmark that impressively highlights the innovative power of one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers. Due to its highly complex geometry, this wide-span steel-reinforced concrete construction – the individual levels of which span distances of up to 30 m without the use of supports – was planned entirely in 3D. The building is structured in the form of a double helix, allowing two independent walking routes to travel through the museum.

The building consists of nine levels in total. The floor plans of the six upper levels consist of two propeller-shaped sections that have been positioned within each storey by rotating them by 120° in relation to the one below. In addition, the elevation of both of the sublevels in each storey has been staggered by approx. 1 m. The atrium, surrounded by the three building utility cores, is located in the central part of the structure. Ramps surrounding the centre provide accessways throughout the building.

The rotation and staggering of the sublevels creates a complex spatial construction that, thanks to the repetition of the structural elements, has proven to be exceptionally efficient and economical. At the same time, this interior arrangement allows a multitude of shortcuts to be taken and varying lines of sight to be enjoyed between the separate parts of the exhibition.

The three sections of the museum – dedicated to automobiles, commercial vehicles and the “Legends” collection – are arranged chronologically from top to bottom, beginning with the oldest exhibits on the uppermost level. The exterior walls in the “Legend” storeys have been implemented as supporting elements made from structural concrete. Large glass facades in the storeys dedicated to cars and trucks permit a maximum level of transparency and offer optimal views of the surrounding landscape. The contrast between the open and closed spaces can thus also be read from the building’s facade.