2022 not only marks the 50th anniversary of the M division but also coincides with half a century since the BMW Group’s headquarters was inaugurated. Built over the course of only 26 months, the famous building shaped like the four cylinders of an engine represented the joint effort of 500 builders and 200 architects, engineers, and draftsmen. Employees from 12 different countries were on site to erect the BMW Vierzylinder.
No fewer than 3.5 million working hours were invested between 1970 and 1972, with the building featuring more than 3,000 façade elements fabricated for the first time in Europe by using the Japanese cast aluminum process. The site’s origins can be traced back to 1968 when BMW organized an architectural competition for what was to become its administration building. Austrian architect Karl Schwanzer convinced the higher-ups to approve his design after bringing a 1:1 model of a complete cloverleaf-shaped floor built at the studios of Bavaria Film.
One interesting fact about the BMW Tower is its suspended construction as the four cylinders are suspended from a cruciform steel beam construction on the roof. While buildings are typically erected from the bottom up, the upper floors were the first to be completed and moved upwards by using a hydraulically powered tower shaft manufactured from reinforced concrete.
Karl Schwanzer, who was also the man behind the House Vienna, Austria Pavilion Montreal, and other famous buildings, will be celebrated in a new feature film. Dubbed “He Flew Ahead,” actor Nicholas Ofczarek will play the role of the architect. The film is set to premiere in the fall of 2023. Schwanzer passed away in 1975, aged 57, three years after the BMW-Turm was completed in August 1972.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the building, a special exhibition is being held at the BMW Museum until October 3 this year. Admission is free, and attendees can find out details about the headquarters area in the museum’s foyer and check out architectural models from the time of its construction.