Porsche Opens Amazing new Museum in Germany
Ingenious ideas, fascinating technology, and legendary cars certainly deserve to be presented in an appropriate setting: Porsche offers all of this at its new museum, which opened in December 2008 in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany.
The building, designed by Delugan Meissl, is a genuine eye-catcher: The daring steel structure rests on three V-shaped pillars, hovering high above the ground like a monolith hovering in space. Inside the Museum is a collection of historic Porsches as well as 200 additional exhibits grouped together in a carefully planned arrangement. The structure beneath the monolith houses the lobby, museum workshop, and archives, as well as a bistro, coffee bar, and museum shop.
The exhibition concept of the new Porsche Museum was developed by the specialists of the Stuttgart HG Merz architects' office in cooperation with Professor Gottfried Korff, a specialist on museology at Tuebingen University not far from Stuttgart. Through their concept, the creators of the museum desire to "present issues of great significance to the Company and, at the same time, to document the long history of Porsche in its products." As many as 170 architects from all over Europe applied for the opportunity before the architects of the Delugan Meissl office won the project in February 2005.
Construction work at Porscheplatz in Zuffenhausen started just half a year later and in November 2007 the body of the Exhibition Building was lowered onto its three concrete cores. The first exhibits moved into the Exhibition Area less than one year later, and in December 8, 2008, the Museum opened, exactly on time.
The monolith and the basic building structure stand out from every perspective through their unusually avantgarde boxy shapes as well as its various structures and window areas differing consistently in their geometry. The glazed front side of the Museum measures 75 feet in height and proudly presents the name "Porsche" to the north, while welcoming visitors and passers-by as they drive into town.
"The new Porsche Museum creates a unique experience in space appropriately reflecting the self-confident attitude and the supreme standard of the Company through its architecture and at the same time bearing out all of Porsche's dynamic character. Knowledge, credibility and a determined stance are just as much part of the Museum's philosophy as courage, enthusiasm, power and independence. Every idea is seen as an opportunity to openly accept new challenges, to venture forward to the very limit, and at the same time to remain faithful to oneself. All this is reflected by this Museum."
More than 80 cars are on display in the futuristic-looking 60,000-square-foot exhibition area. Exhibits range from the legendary wheel hub motor of the Lohner-Porsche and the world's first hybrid automobile built back in 1900, to a 1950 Volkswagen Beetle (the eighth small car designed by Ferdinand Porsche) and all the way up to the latest generation of the Porsche 911.
Porsche expects more than 200,000 visitors to the Museum each year to browse among so-called "Theme Islands" and numerous small exhibits intended to present the "Porsche Idea" in all its complexity. Apart from the exhibition itself, the historical archives and a "transparent" workshop for historical cars, the Museum also offers a wide range of catering services, as well as generous conference areas.
The new Porsche Museum is also available as an event location for other purposes, for example for conferences, film screenings, or concerts, independently of the usual exhibition activities. (I wonder how long before James Bond, Jason Bourne, or some other famous world-class spy is filmed driving through the museum?)
The new building at Porscheplatz is located at a very important place in the history of German automobile production, since this is where the Porsche Design Office moved to from downtown Stuttgart to Plant 1 in Zuffenhausen back in 1938. The forerunners of the VW Beetle first saw the light of day here, followed by the Type 64 Porsche as the ancestor of all Porsche sports cars, the legendary Berlin-Rome car, in 1939. Sports cars proudly bearing the now world-famous Porsche logo have been built in Zuffenhausen ever since 1950.
The amazing new museum is open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays, from 9am to 6pm; admission for adults is 8 Euro (about $10.50 at the current exchange rate) or 4 Euro for a complicated list of people that starts with school-age children and other high-school and college students, and also includes apprentices, those drafted to the Armed Forces and civil services, senior citizens, disabled, and the unemployed.
If you're traveling to Germany, be sure to make a point to check it out!