Mercedes-Benz Tornado

While we’re still on the subject of artificial weather, the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, designed by UNStudio, can repurpose its internal ventilation system to form an artificial tornado.

[Image: The Mercedes-Benz Tornado; photographer unknown].

“The twister takes around seven minutes to materialize,” Autoblog explains, “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.” It is also more than 100 feet tall—making it the official world-record holder for the World’s Largest Artificial Tornado.

Watch the video of how it forms:

A reader, Daan Koch, pointed this internal atmospheric feature out to me—the tornado as ornament—adding that this “dramatic way of ventilating an atrium… could be nice for the Guggenheim in New York, as well.” I couldn’t agree more.

Or perhaps horizontal tornadoes could roll through the New York subway system every night from 2-5am, cleaning out the underworld of its dust and potato chip bags. Perhaps even inside this New Haven parking garage, shown below, with its “fabulous concrete circulation drum” as recently photographed by Charles Holland. Complicatedly angled fans and vacuums suck new wind systems into existence near Yale.

[Image: New Haven parking garage as Tornadodrome; photographed by Fantastic Journal].

Or your new house in the Chicago suburbs seems absolutely perfect for you and your family—till the first hot day of the year sets in and you turn on the A/C. Some sinister combination of ill-conceived vents and over-tall foyer begins to rope together winds—pulling in air from the living room, from the basement, from the kids’ bedrooms—and within a mere twenty minutes a tornado-strength twister takes visible form.

It then spins for days, suffocating the residents in their sleep by robbing them of oxygen, and lifting their limp bodies into the air, where they turn in lazy circles like pirates drowned at sea. Their bodies dance aloft, as if caught in an aero-spirograph, eerily lit by dim suburban lamplight and visible through the front door windows—a vision of the vortex—accidentally killed by HVAC.

[Images: Two views inside UNStudio’s Mercedes-Benz Museum; photographer unknown].

(Thanks, Daan, for the tip!)

7 thoughts on “Mercedes-Benz Tornado”

  1. The thought of people succumbing to the HVAC system, lifted in the air, spinning slowly till found by some neighbor strikes me as hilarious and eerily…cool.

  2. That parking ramp in New Haven is a strangely monumental structure. It rises at one end of a shopping alley, almost bumping into the buildings on either side. The ramps are solemn and precise, like a tomb or a reactor. It always seems like I'm going to find that there's something more to it, but nothing yet.

  3. lol… everything neatly mechanically exposes itself….but at the end they need to roll out a smoke machine 😛

  4. Related but unrelated.

    In a lecture in Hong Kong, Ben Van Berkel was commenting on the importance of programming in an architect's work today. He said that in day, architects spend more than 50% of their time programming.

    Well, programming to the extreme meets infrastructure:
    Iowa 80, the world's largest truckstop.

    They haven't left anything out. A dental practice for truckers? It was so successful that the dentist gave up his 'normal' practice and now works solely at the truckstop.

  5. Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The thought of people succumbing to the HVAC system, lifted in the air, spinning slowly till found by some neighbor strikes me as hilarious and eerily…cool.
    March 01, 2010 3:05 PM


    You should rent Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the original) you'll love it!

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