Bubble, BMW Group, IAA 1999, Frankfurt / Main, Germany - FRANKEN\ARCHITEKTEN


“Due to the influence of surface tension, the drop aims to achieve a spherical shape. However, its viscosity, torpidity, atmospheric friction and other external forces prevent this, so that it warps through a slightly oscillating drop into a spherical form.”

Long before sustainability became a fashionable word, at the first BMW trade fair presentation realized by Franken, driving with clean energy from water and the sun was symbolized in the form of an iconic structure: a drop of water. A drop simulation computer program was used to create this shape. The Bubble was one of the first structures in the world which was completely created with digital means, from the design through to construction.

Client BMW Group
Location IAA 1999, Frankfurt / Main, Germany
Project-Team Prof. Bernhard Franken, Sonja Albrech, Nils-Peter Fischer, Kirstin Fried, Niklas Führer, Thilo Kurzemann, Hans-Herbert Kuss, Michael Lulay, Thomas Remdisch

IBZ+L,Bollinger + Grohmann

Status Realised 1999
Dimension 260 m²

Narrative Spaces


"Parametric design, often linking the contextual with the meta-
phorical, is a
transparent and formal approach to the creation of a narrative archi-tecture."






  • Automotive Brand Contest Award 2011
  • Feidad Design Award 2000
  • iF Award 1999



  • Bollinger + Grohmann - Engineering 3, Christian Schittich, DETAIL - Institut für internat. Architektur-Dokumentation GmbH, 2013
  • Digital Fabrication in Architecture, Nick Dunn, Laurence Kind Publishing Ltd, 2012

Own Publications

  • Structures and Architecture, Paulo J.S. Cruz, Bernhard Franken, Taylor & Francis Group, 2010
  • New Technologies in Architecture, Digital Design and Manufacturing Techniques, Digital Design and Manufacturing Techniques, The BMW Pavilion Projects in Germany. Parametric Design & Digital Community, Bernhard Franken, Daniel Schodek, Kenneth, 2004


  • Performalism, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2008 
  • Brand X, Glashausreihe, DAZ, Berlin, Deutschland, 2008