Located in Stuttgart, Germany, the Mercedes-Benz Museum is home to the ‘strongest artificially generated tornado in the world’ according to the Guinness Book of World Records. However the purpose of the 34.4 meter high (112.86 ft) may surprise you. See below to learn why.
The architecture of the Mercedes-Benz Museum (designed by UNStudio) placed particular demands on construction planners, architects and engineers with regard to smoke elimination. The provisions of the approving authority and fire protection regulations require all areas outside the fire level to be smoke-free in the event of smoke emission.
However, due to the open-plan structure of the Mercedes-Benz Museum, the various exhibition areas are connected to each other without any fire zones via an interior courtyard and ramps. From the perspective of smoke elimination this presented a challenging task that could not be implemented through conventional fluid mechanics.
It was necessary to take a new approach, and so a globally unique smoke elimination system was developed especially for the Mercedes-Benz Museum. In the event of fire, 144 outlets located along the core walls inject air into the interior courtyard of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. This generates an artificial tornado, and the smoke collected is then discharged into the outside air via a smoke elimination ventilator located in the upper part of the building.
This procedure uses the principle of the tornado force, which has a devastating effect under natural conditions, to create a controlled life-saving form of fluid mechanics that opens up new architectural possibilities.
At once the world’s most cutting-edge museum and a repository of the most deep-rooted traditions, the Mercedes-Benz Museum combines an elegant appearance with a unique structure based on a double helix. All aspects of this architecture are in flow, with no closed rooms or straight walls. Ceilings span 33 metres without any supports whatsoever and each of the 1800 triangular window panes is unique.
There are no right-angles in the Mercedes-Benz Museum. All walls and ceilings, ramps and columns are arched or turn in on themselves, gently flowing into one another. On nine levels and covering a floor space of 16,500 square metres, the museum presents 160 vehicles and over 1,500 exhibits.