Porsche Pavilion at the Autostadt in Wolfsburg Architecture, landscape design and exhibition concept
A few weeks ago the Dr .Ing. h. c. F. Porsche AG celebrated the opening of their Porsche Pavilion at the Autostadt in Wolfsburg in the presence of 200 guests of honor. For the first time since its opening in 2000, the theme park receives another building structure in the form of the new Porsche Pavilion, which expresses the importance of Porsche within the Volkswagen Group family.
‘The building is unique and its construction is extraordinary. This pavilion also has a symbolic and historical dimension, as it hints at the common roots through which Porsche and Volkswagen have been connected from the very beginning and will continue to be connected also in future’, says Matthias Müller, CEO of Porsche AG. ‘As a worldwide leading automobile destination and communication platform for Volkswagen, we provide insights into our brands, values and philosophy for our guests. With the Porsche Pavilion we start a new chapter in the history of the Autostadt’, adds Otto F. Wachs, Director of the Autostadt.
The organically shaped building is sitting – in mirrored location to the Volkswagen Pavilion- at the central axis of the theme park and offers 400 m² of space for exhibitions and presentations. Its characteristic silhouette will become a distinctive icon amid the lagoon landscape of the Autostadt.
Curving lines and exciting bends make the Pavilion a dynamic yet reduced sculpture with its characteristics derived from the Porsche brand image. As designed by HENN, the structure captures the dynamic flow of driving with a seamless building skin. Its lines pick up speed and slow down just to plunge forward in large curves with ever-changing radii. A matte-finished stainless steel cladding forms the flush envelope of this vibrant structure, creating the impression of a homogeneous unity, whilst creating a continuously changing appearance depending on light and weather conditions. At the entrance the pavilion cantilevers 25m over the lagoon’s water surface in front. Below the cantilever of the large asymmetrical roof, a sheltered external space opens up. This space is visually connected to the surrounding landscape, but forms its own acoustic enclosure, providing seating for a few hundred guests. Architecture and landscape, interior and exterior as well as roof and facade are brought together by HENN in their architectural concept of a coherent, flowing continuum. The external area around the pavilion was designed by landscape architects WES and integrated into the overall concept of the theme park. This is how the new piazzetta creates a connection between the Porsche Pavilion and the adjacent Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Pavilion by means of water features and trees. By walking around the sculptural Porsche Pavilion, further highlights of the Autostadt can be discovered.
Similar to the monocoque construction technology used for lightweight structures in the automotive and aerospace industries, the building envelope forms a spatial enclosure whilst at the same time acting as load-bearing structure. A total of 620 sheets of stainless steel cladding with welded ribs were prefabricated in a ship-yard in Stralsund and assembled on site.
Inside the pavilion a concentrated space opens up, allowing visitors to experience the sports car brand Porsche and its history, yet, casting aside the conventional limits and restraints to perception. The elliptically curved ramp embraces the dynamic principle of the architecture and leads the visitor to the lower exhibition stage areas. The exhibition and staging concept created by hg merz architekten museumsgestalter and jangled nerves combines evolution, engineering and the fascination of Porsche into an impressive image of future-oriented tradition. The Original Porsche – a 356 No.1 built in 1948 – is the starting point for a swarm of 25 silver coloured vehicle models at the scale of 1:3, on show in the main exhibition area.
Tradition and innovation, performance and day-to-day-practicality, design and functionality, exclusiveness and social acceptance: These four antagonistic terms characterise Porsche’s values and philosophy. They are also picked up as themes in short films. A film about the company history, sound stories about selected Porsche models as well as tablet PCs with further information about the exhibited vehicles make this visit’s experience perfect.