Experience the awe-inspiring power of a tornado, up-close and personal, without putting yourself in serious danger chasing a real one. The Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart hosts the strongest artificially generated tornado in the world, with 144 jets spewing 28 tons of smoke in a 112-foot-high column. Why intentionally produce a tornado in a showroom full of over 150 luxury vehicles? The answer may surprise you.
The facility, designed by Dutch architecture firm UNStudio, is one of the most cutting-edge of its kind. Reminiscent of the Guggenheim, the Mercedes-Benz Museum is a steel structure based on a double-helix, featuring a massive central atrium viewable from the floors that spiral around it. All rooms are open, all walls are curved and each of the 1800 triangular window panes on the exterior walls is unique.
The 1500 exhibition areas contained within the space are connected without any fire zones – making them a bit of a hazard if a fire were ever to really break out. The solution? An artificial tornado created by injecting air into the interior courtyard of the museum from those 144 jets. The smoke is collected by the air currents and whisked outside.
Though it’s actually a safety measure, the tornado effect is so spectacular that it has become a bit of a tourist attraction, bringing even more people to check out the museum. See it in action above.