Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fast & Furious

We started off our first full day in Stuttgart with visiting the Porche Museum and Mercedes Benz Museum. The Porche Museum was designed by Delugan Meissl Associated Architects and the Mercedes Benz Museum was designed by UN Studio. I found Mercedes Benz to be my favorite because I enjoy most of UN Studio’s work. Both projects were complicated designs to show off the company’s wealth, success, and well known reputation. They also acted as good marketing through the exotic experience of car showrooms. By the end of touring both of the museums I really wish I had one of their elite car models; which was never a previous interest or desire of mine. The exterior of the Porche Museum is a heavy prism form appearing to stand on 5 legs, but only 3 are structural and the other 2 are for circulation. The fa├žade was made of a reflective material that illuminated the underbelly of the structure; drawing the user inside the building. Nearly the entire interior was clad in corian. It was an open environment with colliding geometries that helped lead you through the entire building. I was impressed with the precision and craft of the form work along with the well resolved angular intersections. All of the structural components were well hidden where in other buildings you may find funky and unattractive details. The Mercedes Benz design was centered on circulation which was organized around a double helix. There was a continuous ramp along the exterior of the helix and where they crossed one another located their show rooms. The spiral ramp wrapping around the showrooms had a similar concept of Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum in New York. The programmatic organization spiraled around a central atrium which chronologically unfolded the evolution of Mercedes Benz cars. I was impressed with how well the organization worked as a continuous experience of the space, but yet allowing one to split off onto various paths. I found the spaces to be quite interesting and experiential. Late in the afternoon we visited the Weissenhoff Settlement & Museum where the multi-family housing complexes designed by Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, and Peter Behrens were located. These multi-family complexes were in high demand after WWII.

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