Mercedes-Benz Museum | The Plan
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Mercedes-Benz Museum


During the 20th century, the museum became architecture’s most sophisticated means of expression, a symbol of modernity, and a key area of study. The Mercedes-Benz Museum is the latest in a long line that started with Wright’s Guggenheim, the Pompidou Centre by Piano and Rogers and continued with the more recent Bilbao Guggenheim by Gehry and the Wolfsburg Phaeno Science Center by Hadid.
The Mercedes Museum will also become part of museum-architecture history. Not only as a statement of contemporary architecture but for having put the digital design process squarely on the map. Ben van Berkel works with a diagram that contains all the requirements of the project. It is a vector that accompanies him throughout the whole design process, indicating everything from spatial organisation and structural design down to the smallest detail and finish. The system creates a self-sustaining 3D model from the architectural drawings, and generates services, volumes and openings.
Unlike those who use digital architecture merely for aesthetic research, UN Studio sees the computer as the means of imaginatively managing a mathematic model without being cramped by formal, preconceived solutions. Indeed van Berkel is not so much concerned with the final appearance of a building as with its afterimage: the image it leaves in our minds. The building’s location close to the motorway is paradigmatic. People see it from the inside of a moving car; a slightly blurred image is what will remain in their minds.
The entrance opens into a wide, full-height triangular-shaped atrium leading immediately to the top floor where the exhibition starts. Designed as a double spiral that twists around the empty well of the atrium, the building has six horizontal exhibition floors, alternately six single and six double height. Contrary to appearances, the structure is not one continuous flowing surface. The six floors are separate and slightly inclined, to create a dynamic space around the...

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