HG Merz was involved from the outset in developing the concept for the museum. He is an architect. His work is concerned less with the design of new buildings, however, drawing rather on the given historical context – Merz’s specialities are designing museums and incorporating new designs into existing buildings. Merz has been associated with the Mercedes-Benz brand for over 25 years now. The double helix depicts the more than 125-year evolutionary process of the automobile, taking in the history of the Mercedes-Benz brand and its predecessors. The DNA that has driven the evolution of the automobile since its invention in 1886 is to be found in the history of the Mercedes-Benz brand. The architectural design of the Mercedes-Benz Museum embodies this inseparable link between tradition and innovation. The journey through time culminates in the final “Legend” room, which ends both tours and leads back to the present. Dozens of racing cars dating from 1900 to the present day bring the essence of the Mercedes legend to life here. The high-bank curve in which the legendary high-performance vehicles are presented takes up the complex geometry of the building while also alluding to renowned race tracks.
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. In reality, there is no strict division into different storeys. The Legend rooms are almost twice as high as the Collection rooms. And there is a difference of level between the two of more than a metre.
It is not even possible to establish a strict distinction between horizontal and vertical surfaces: the so-called Twists, – as the name suggests, building elements incorporating two twists – are the most spectacular innovation in the building. They emerge from the lift shafts as a vertical wall and then spiral upwards in a gentle sweep, supported by the next shaft. Finally, behind the light window strips of the facade they support a flat stairway that connects one Collection room with the next.
This complex geometry is continued in the ramps running along the outside of the building which connect the Legend rooms. In turn, these ramps rest on inclined pillars which perform their static function in ingenious fashion while also lending the large window areas of the Collection rooms a structured appearance. The pillars themselves gradually evolve from a triangular ground plan into a hexagon, before ending up as a reversed triangle.
Numerous prizes and awards attest to the unique architecture of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. The museum most recently won the 2009 Hugo Häring Prize for exemplary buildings in Baden-Württemberg.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum offers guided architectural and art tours on request. For information or to register for services, please contact the Mercedes-Benz Classic Contact Center on Phone: +49 711 1730000 or at