Man Made Artificially Generated Tornado

mercedes-benz museum stuttgart worlds largest strongest artificial tornado (5)

The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany is now home to more than just automobiles. The museum has been recognized by the Guinness Book of Records for creating the “strongest artificially generated tornado in the world.” The 34.4 meter high (that is 37.2 yards to those metrically challenged) vortex was not designed as an attraction, but to channel smoke out of the building in the event of a fire. The architecture wonderment that is the museum did not make use of any fire doors in the design (surely they would get in the way of the architect’s vision). In order to meet regulations, the building engineers had to determine a way to keep smoke from spreading beyond the fire level, the tornado is the resulting solution. The twister takes around seven minutes to materialize and is generated by 144 jets and 28 tons of air. The low-pressure area at the center of the tornado works to create a jet stream that draws smoke out of the building’s corridors and funnels it upwards and out an exhaust vent on the roof.

Located in Stuttgart, Germany, the Mercedes-Benz Museum is home to the ‘strongest artificially generated tornado in the world’ according to the Guinness Book of World Records. However, the purpose of the 34.4 meter high (112.86 ft) may surprise you. See below to learn why.

 

mercedes-benz museum stuttgart worlds largest strongest artificial tornado (3)

The architecture of the Mercedes-Benz Museum (designed by UNStudio) placed particular demands on construction planners, architects and engineers with regard to smoke elimination. The provisions of the approving authority and fire protection regulations require all areas outside the fire level to be smoke-free in the event of smoke emission.

However, due to the open-plan structure of the Mercedes-Benz Museum, the various exhibition areas are connected to each other without any fire zones via an interior courtyard and ramps. From the perspective of smoke elimination this presented a challenging task that could not be implemented through conventional fluid mechanics.

mercedes-benz museum stuttgart worlds largest strongest artificial tornado (1)

Photograph by Mercedes-Benz Passion

It was necessary to take a new approach, and so a globally unique smoke elimination system was developed especially for the Mercedes-Benz Museum. In the event of a fire, 144 outlets located along the core walls inject air into the interior courtyard of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. This generates an artificial tornado, and the smoke collected is then discharged into the outside air via a smoke elimination ventilator located in the upper part of the building.

mercedes-benz museum stuttgart worlds largest strongest artificial tornado (4)

Photograph by Mercedes-Benz Passion

This procedure uses the principle of the tornado force, which has a devastating effect under natural conditions, to create a controlled life-saving form of fluid mechanics that opens up new architectural possibilities.

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At once the world’s most cutting-edge museum and a repository of the most deep-rooted traditions, the Mercedes-Benz Museum combines an elegant appearance with a unique structure based on a double helix. All aspects of this architecture are in flow, with no closed rooms or straight walls. Ceilings span 33 meters without any supports whatsoever and each of the 1800 triangular window panes is unique. 

mercedes-benz museum by UNStudio (1)

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