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BMW Central Building

  • Leipzig, Germany
  • 2001 – 2005
  • BMW AG
  • Built
  • 25000m2

Our Central Building for BMW constituted a radical reinterpretation of the traditional office – transforming the building and the functions it contains into a more dynamic, engaging ‘nerve-centre’ or ‘communication knot’ – funneling all movement around the manufacturing complex through a space that transcends conventional white collar/blue collar spatial divisions.

BMW’s bold objective was to translate functional industrial architecture into a new ‘aesthetic’ – to use the new Central Building at its Leipzig manufacturing centre as a transition zone between manufacturing halls and public spaces, from which all the complex’s activities gathered and branched out.

We conceived the Central Building, positioned between other existing or planned structures,  as an orientating and animating force field, a compression chamber through which all movement converged, from the cycles and trajectories of workers to the production line itself, which traversed this central point.

Within the building, following a primary ‘scissor-section’ strategy, two sequences of terraced plates step up like giant staircases from north to south and from south to north, creating a continuous connection. One cascade begins close to the public lobby overlooking the forum to reach the first floor in the middle of the building. The second starts with the cafeteria at the south end, moving up to meet the first cascade then all the way up to the space projecting over the entrance.

At the bottom of the void between the floors is the auditing area – a central focus of attention. Above the void, half-finished cars are open to view moving along their tracks between the surrounding production units.

In stark contrast to conventional, functionally-exclusive offices, employees are integrated through transparent internal organisation that mixes functions and traditional status groups, from engineering to administrative, white collar to blue collar – preventing the establishment of exclusive domains.

A large car park is transformed into a dynamic spectacle in its own right, showcasing the lively, sparkling, moving field of car bodies in the arrangement of parking lots. Here, cars swoop underneath and set visitors down as they are greeted by views through the glazed public lobby, deep into the building.




Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher

Project Architect

Jim Heverin, Lars Teichmann

Project Team

Matthias Frei, Jan Huebener, Annette Bresinsky, Manuela Gatto, Fabian Hecker, Cornelius Schlotthauer, Wolfgang Sunder, Anneka Wegener, Markus Planteu, Robert Neumayr, Christina Beaumont, Achim Gergen, Caroline Anderson

Design Team

Lars Teichmann, Eva Pfannes, Kenneth Bostock, Stephane Hof, Djordje Stojanovic, Leyre Villoria, Liam Young, Christiane Fashek, Manuela Gatto, Tina Gregoric, Cesare Griffa, Yasha Jacob Grobman, Filippo Innocenti, Zetta Kotsioni, Debora Laub, Sarah Manning, Maurizio Meossi, Robert Sedlak, Niki Neerpasch, Eric Tong
Tiago Correia

Partner Architect

IFB Dr. Braschel AG (Stuttgart, Germany), WPW Ingenieure GmbH

Landscape Architects

Gross.Max (Edinburgh, UK)

Structural Engineering

IFB Dr. Braschel AG (Stuttgart, Germany), Anthony Hunt Associates (London, UK)


IFB Dr. Braschel AG (Stuttgart, Germany)

Lighting Design

Equation Lighting (London, UK)