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building study

The proposed relationship between the BMW factory and the surrounding landscape is a contemporary interpretation of the Classical country estate; it has both a productive and representative nature. Similar to the BMW image, the landscape represents utility combined with pleasure.

The 'drive' from the motorway interchange to the factory is a carefully orchestrated flow punctuated by the 20m-high sculptured earth landmark, and the sense of arrival culminates in the car park, which forms an integral architectural feature with the central building as the focus. The moving spectacle of the car park is set into a contrasting natural system of reedbed vegetation, which acts as a hydro-filter and retention pool for surface-water run-off.

The large expanse of car-park surface is used to generate energy by means of the high heatretaining capacity of its dark colour. An integral system of water pipes acts as a heat exchanger, connected to the factory showers.

The overall landscape design of the new BMW plant relates to the scale and character of the surrounding agricultural landscape, and its formation into a bold landscape framework for future development, consisting of strips of woodland, hedgerows and roadside tree planting as proposed by Becker Gieseke Mohren Richard with Albert Speer and Partner. The rational organisation of this new production landscape is extended into the landscape treatment of the BMW plant. It consists of an orthogonal framework of poplar trees that provides a transparent subdivision of the entire site, while linking built form with exterior space into a dynamic composition of mass and void.

Poplar trees were chosen for their vigorous growth, in order to establish a landscape structure and favourable microclimate in a relatively short time span. The poplars are planted in a variety of planting distances and densities, and both white and black poplars (Populus Alba and Populus Nigra), distinct in their contrasting tree trunks, are used.

Areas assigned to the future expansion of factory buildings are planted with shortrotation coppice plantation consisting of willow species. These arable crops contribute to the absorption of carbon dioxide from the air and, when harvested, the biomass can be used for energy production. In contrast to the bold treatment of the plant's periphery, the courtyard areas between the buildings are scattered with fruit trees; a romantic interlude in the factory's rigorous production process.

An expressive garden path provides an outdoor circuit combined with areas for seating and relaxation. The central building is penetrated by both the outside and inside landscape treatment and forms the transition between the two contrasting character zones.

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