Porsche Museum in Stuttgart

The new museum sets a bold architectural accent in a heterogeneous industrial environment. The volume containing the exhibition is based on a polygonal plan and is clad in white-coated, lozenge-shaped aluminium panels. It is raised above a flat plinth structure that houses the foyer, restaurant and openly visible museum workshop. The gently sloping forecourt area – covered by this cantilevered exhibition structure – provides access to the sunken entrance. Much of the sense of weight of the raised steel volume is relieved by the polished stainless-steel sheeting on the underside, which creates changing reflections of the forecourt, plinth and staircase tracts. The view up from the foyer to the web-like glazing overhead heightens this effect, arousing the interest of visitors and inviting them to proceed further. Leading through this partly glazed access strip is a central staircase with two flanking escalators. The route narrows again: one passes from the brightly lit foyer through a reflecting intermediate zone into the broad, white museum landscape with its gently sloping ramps and stairs. The spatial load-bearing structure of the exhibition volume, which seems almost to float in the air, consists of peripheral trussed girders that extend over the full height of the building, with three-dimensional beam grids in the floor and roof planes. The latter have an average span of 60 m and cantilever out by as much as 50 m. The structure also has to accommodate horizontal movements of up to 8 cm. This flexurally rigid upper volume is supported by three cores with a total of five vertical and raking piers. With the aid of a parametric computer model, the planning of each element was integrated into the overall system. The restrained, largely monochrome design of the exhibition by hg merz refrains from distracting, media effects. It relies entirely on the colourful exhibits, the background to which is formed by seamlessly joined, mineral-based sheeting with a white finish. Visitors can follow a spiralling route through the space via a series of ramps that lead to a gallery at the end, or they can stroll freely about the exhibition landscape. A “prologue” wound round the circulation strip describes the activities of Ferdinand Porsche prior to the creation of his car brand. This is followed, in a recess around the edge, by a chronological depiction of the history of the product from 1948 onwards. Here, a black, light-absorbing background brings out the effect of the various models. Scattered along this route, special exhibits, showcase presentations and research terminals serve to illustrate individual themes. In accordance with the concept of a mobile exhibition, most of the vehicles on show are in running order, and their participation in vete­ran rallies is foreseen from time to time. All exhibits are freely accessible to visitors.
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