Porsche opens spunky museum in Stuttgart

Porsche opens spunky museum in Stuttgart

9th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

In January, Porsche joined other German car makers by opening a museum, which some describe as a giant work of origami.

Die-hard Porsche fans can start their engines. In January, the famous sports car maker opened a museum in Stuttgart to house its collection of 80 classic cars.

The steel-framed, aluminium-sheathed building looks like a giant work of origami. Most of its sculpted walls tilt outwards, symbolizing the predator-animal spirit that many Porsche drivers mentally associate with their upmarket brand.

Porsche lavished 100 million euros (130 million dollars) on the prestige project, which faces its main office across a busy intersection in the Stuttgart suburb of Zuffenhausen. The context of the museum contrasts the drab factory buildings where the cars are built.

It was also playing catch-up to German brands Daimler and Volkswagen, which each have architecturally-striking museums that attract huge numbers of tourists keen to see the history and future of the cars they adore.

The 5,600-square-metre museum is to be "our company's showcase," chief executive Wendelin Wiedeking said at the inauguration. The museum opened its doors at the end of January and is expected to attract 200,000 visitors annually.

Porsche, whose fabulous stock-market profits have prompted its rivals to belittle it as "a hedge fund with a car factory attached," is currently preparing a four-door sedan, the Panamera, to add to its range of sports cars.

The new Porsche museum in Stuttgart

In contrast with its fabled industrial efficiency, Porsche endured delays and cost over-runs while building the museum, which was originally scheduled to open in 2007 and to cost only half as much.

Building something that perhaps most resembles an intergalactic space cruiser from a science fiction movie was a challenge, with the building's 35,000 tons resting on just three anchors in the soil.
A man look inside a Porsche car of German luxury carmaker during the second press day of the 79th Geneva Car Show on March 3, 2009 in Geneva.
Viennese architect Roman Delugan said he conceived the building, with its white-painted aluminium exterior and a reflecting underside, as a "living organism in symbiosis with its surroundings." The interior is almost completely white.

The ground-floor foyer is comparatively tiny. The visitor mounts an elevator to the exhibition area, where the place of pride goes to a replica of the Type 64, the 1939 racing-car design by company founder Ferdinand Porsche.

Visitors can see the work of the original Porsche design bureau including the original Volkswagen Beetle, commissions for Mercedes-Benz, which is now a cross-town rival, and contemporary sports cars.

"The coolness of the architecture is a deliberate contrast to the rounded shapes of the typical Porsche,” said company spokesman Anton Hunger.

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn poses next to a Volkswagen "Beetle" car of 1950 on the sidelines of the inauguration of the new Porsche museum on January 28, 2009 . About 80 vehicles and many small exhibits will be on display at the new Porsche Museum. Some iconic vehicles such as the 356, 550, 911, and 917 are presented and the exhibits include some of the outstanding technical achievements of company founder Ferdinand Porsche from the early 20th century.

Visitors are not allowed to get inside the cars on display but if they want to enjoy the throaty revving of a 911, they can step inside a "sound shower" to hear burbling recordings of the characteristic noise.
Jean-Baptiste Piggin/DPA/Expatica

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