The World’s Highest Artificial Tornado

The Mer­cedes-Benz Muse­um in Stuttgart, Ger­many, is a remark­able struc­ture. Designed by Ben van Berkel and Car­o­line Bos of the Dutch firm UN Stu­dio, the build­ing received rave reviews when it opened in May of 2006. Influ­enced by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggen­heim Muse­um in New York, the build­ing was described as “jet-age baroque” by The Guardian archi­tec­ture crit­ic Jonathan Glancey. “It twists and turns with breath­tak­ing com­plex­i­ty,” Glancey wrote in 2006, “clever as a con­jur­ing trick.”

The archi­tects need­ed a bit of mag­ic to bring the muse­um’s open plan into com­pli­ance with fire codes. Like in the Guggen­heim, the inte­ri­or is one con­tin­u­ous­ly unfold­ing space that spi­rals around a cen­tral atri­um. As a con­se­quence there could be no fire doors to con­tain smoke if a blaze broke out in one sec­tion of the build­ing. To solve the prob­lem, UN Stu­dio hired the engi­neer­ing firm Imtech to design a sys­tem that would draw smoke away from all areas of the muse­um, allow­ing peo­ple to escape.

The result is the world’s largest man-made air vor­tex, a 112-foot-high tor­na­do that auto­mat­i­cal­ly acti­vates in the event of a fire, draw­ing smoke into the cen­ter of the atri­um and mov­ing it upward through an axi­al fan in the ceil­ing. An array of 144 out­lets in the sur­round­ing walls emit pow­er­ful jets of air to gen­er­ate a cen­tral region of low pres­sure, just like in a real tor­na­do. Imtech engi­neers per­fect­ed the design using com­pu­ta­tion­al flu­id dynam­ic (CDF) sim­u­la­tions and lab­o­ra­to­ry mod­els.  The firm has cre­at­ed sim­i­lar sys­tems for air­ports in sev­er­al Ger­man cities, includ­ing Düssel­dorf and Ham­burg. You can watch the tor­na­do at the Mer­cedes-Benz Muse­um in action above.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The DIY Tor­na­do Machine


by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (1)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Ayaz says:

    I want to make arti­fi­cial tor­na­do, earth­quake, Tsuna­mi and Cyclon at a musi­um in Mum­bai (India).

    If there is any­one who make such things please con­tact me on 09594888124 / 09821400134

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.