In 2002, auto giant BMW invested in a design competition for a Central Building at its complex on the outskirts of Leipzig, where 5000 employees produce 650 of BMW’s 3-Series sports sedans daily. From 25 international architects, they picked Zaha Hadid, whose sophisticated design turned conventions on their ear. Blue-collar factory workers and white-collar managers commingle in a fluid matrix of automotive production and administration. Unfinished auto bodies on their way to the assembly line parade silently on conveyor belts suspended above workers lunching in the corporate canteen. Architects can’t shake their fascination with industrial buildings. Icons of functionalism such as Fiat’s Lingotto factory in Turin, and Peter Behren’s AEG turbine factory in Berlin, still loom large in their imaginations. Today few factories manage to create inspired architecture from the exigencies of the assembly line. Hadid: “It took tremendous guts for BMW to allow us to do this project.”
Monday to Friday (Saturday only when production is running): 08:00 to 18:00h. You can request a tour (English and German) via ww.bmw-werk-leipzig.de.
How to get there?
A9 motorway from the direction of Munich or Berlin.
Car: At the Schkeuditz interchange take the A14 motorway towards Dresden and leave the motorway at the exit "Leipzig-Messegelände". Follow signs to the BMW plant to "Besucher/Visitors" signs.