BMW Headquarters In Munich Celebrates Its 50th Birthday

In just 26 months, between 1970 and 1972, a timeless icon with global appeal was created in Munich. On the construction site, 3.5 million hours were worked. 500 construction workers and 200 architects, engineers, and draftsmen.

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For the first time in Europe, over 3,000 façade elements were produced using the Japanese cast aluminum process. The BMW landmark was built by employees from twelve different countries at the time. Colleagues from over 104 countries now work together there and in the neighboring plant.

With over 200 international guests from business, culture, politics, and society in attendance, the BMW Group celebrated its corporate headquarters as a world-famous architectural icon. The keynote speech by architect and Pritzker Prize winner Francis Kéré, as well as the appearance of Nihal Saad, Chief of Cabinet of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, distinguished the ceremony.

Because the four cylinders are suspended from a cruciform steel beam construction on the roof, the BMW Group Headquarters remains one of the most innovative engineering buildings of the postwar period.

The building did not grow from the ground up, as is customary, but rather the upper floors were manufactured on the ground, then hydraulically moved upwards on the massive “tower shaft” made of reinforced concrete and completed in segments.

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The BMW Group Headquarters was completed in August 1972, directly across from the renowned Olympic site designed by Behnisch & Partner with Frei Otto. The administrative building, designed by Austrian architect Professor Karl Schwanzer, has since become a timeless icon with global appeal for Munich and the company. The “suspended tower” combines visual conciseness with a constructive and functional logic through its impressive façade, visionary construction, and spatial concept.

The innovative power of Schwanzer’s design represents the BMW Group both then and now, transforming the company headquarters into a beacon of sustainable mobility for the future. It is hailed in the media as the “most impressive and coolest corporate headquarters in the world,” and it represents not only economic success but also international exchange, peace, and interculturalism. Today, Schwanzer’s “built communication” paves the way for a new era of electrification, digitalization, and circularity.

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