Philosophy and vision is the keyLEE DONG-HYUN
The author is deputy industry editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
The BMW headquarters building in Munich is called the “Four Cylinder.” It was completed in 1972 — the year of the Munich Olympics. The four cylindrical structures of the building resemble the cylinders of an automobile engine. The headquarters building reflects the identity of the carmaker.
There is another bowl-shaped building next to the headquarters — called Weld — meaning “world” in German. It houses a museum of BMW’s history and a theater, and customers can pick up the cars they ordered from there. Many people come from the United States to buy new cars here. More than 2 million visitors come here each year to experience the history of BMW.
Stuttgart is the home of another German carmaker, Mercedes-Benz. The museum next to the headquarters building, designed by renowned Dutch architect Ben van Berkel, contains everything about automobiles. From the first automobile made by Karl Benz in 1889 to modern concept cars, it boasts that the history of automobile is equivalent to history of Benz.
Volkswagen, the biggest carmaker in the world, is headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. There is an automobile theme park there named Autostadt, meaning Automobile City. The size is overwhelming. You can find museums, experience centers and luxury hotels. The glass parking tower that former chairman Ferdinand Piech loved is also considered a major attraction.
Hyundai Motor plans to build a new headquarters building (GBC) in Samsung-dong, southern Seoul, over the next six years. The motor company attracted keen attention for having invested more than triple the appraised value to buy the land. Controversies continued both inside and outside the company on the basis that the plot of land was purchased for too much money.
Once completed, it would be the highest building in Korea. But I hope it would contain the philosophy and vision of Hyundai Motor, which became the fifth-largest carmaker in the world in just a half century. Like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, I hope it would be a space projecting Hyundai’s history and pride. Then, the controversy over the GBC would melt away.
JoongAng Ilbo, May 8, Page 29