The World of Volvo Timber Building in Sweden celebrates the right to homelessness


the The world of Volvo is currently under construction in Gothenburg, Sweden. It promises to be a “one-stop experience center and meeting place” for Volvo Cars and the Volvo Group when it opens in 2024. Architecture studio Henning Larsen has revealed the design of the circular wooden structure and there are a number of remarkable things about it.

Most evident is the glorious use of wood, with giant continuous glulam (glulam) tree-like columns and beams topped with CLT slabs.

What is CLT?

It is an acronym for cross-laminated timber, a form of solid timber developed in Austria in the 1990s. It is made up of several layers of solid dimension lumber such as 2X4s laid flat and glued together in layers alternate directions.

“Computer-controlled manufacturing allows curved glulam pieces to be cut with a high degree of precision,” said Henning Larsen. “The rigidity and continuity of the structure are guaranteed with metal connectors that can be hidden inside the wooden elements.”

Henning Larsen

The main building is located on a “mountain” with three “trees” that contain exhibition spaces. The interior blends seamlessly with the exterior, with “floor-to-ceiling glass facades creating a seamless transition to the sprawling nature beyond.”

Henning Larsen / KVANT-1

Perhaps counterintuitively, given how damaging cars and their supporting infrastructure have been to the natural environment, it’s about embracing Swedish nature.

“The reference to nature in the arching ‘branches’ and ‘canopy’ of the roof is by design, with the concept of the structure centered around the idea of ​​the mountain (the landscape and the base of the building) and the tree (the building itself) The grand landscape that surrounds the building brings the nature of Sweden to central Gothenburg, covering the area with delicate flowers and native plants that bloom between rocky outcrops and winding paths. And just like in landscapes across the country, visitors are encouraged to inhabit the landscape as they see fit, keeping in mind the principle of allemansrätten: leaves no trace.”

Hennig Larsen / KVANT1

The reference to the Swedish concept of allemansrätten is interesting in light of recent discussions on Treehugger regarding the right to roam, which has drawn dozens of comments complaining about property rights and socialism. Henning Larsen actually designed this building around these principles, breaking down the boundaries between indoors and outdoors, private and public, free and paid.

Henning Larsen says:

World of Volvo is designed around the Swedish concept of “Allemansrattendesignating the fundamental right that all citizens share with nature: the right to move freely on any land (public or private), respecting nature and others. This principle has become not only a right, but a central element of Swedish philosophy and which lives on among citizens, businesses and organizations alike, including Volvo.

World of Volvo’s circular shape, encompassing both care for nature and consideration for people, encourages visitors to have their own experience inside and out, whether they hold tickets or not. for indoor exhibits.

“Our goal was to shape something very essential to the Swedish spirit. The circular shape of Volvo’s world, the materiality of wood, its integration into the landscape and, fundamentally, its openness – it’s all part of a fundamental collective identity,” said Martin Stenberg Ringnér, Associate Director of Design at Henning Larsen.

These things are actually possible.

Henning Larsen / KVANT-1

Of course, it’s next to a major highway and designed so that “travellers can catch a glimpse of the project’s sloping roof and the exhibits inside at high speeds.” But it also demonstrates another thing about Henning Larsen’s presentation of this building: extraordinary photo-realistic renderings. As someone who has watched the development of technology over the past few decades, I can attest that they are remarkable, as are many others in the Norwegian company’s portfolio. KVANT-1.

Editor and conservationist Kevin Kelly recently listed 103 tips, with one of them, “The main prevention against aging is to remain amazed.” I’m not that young either, and I’m still amazed by the changes in the architectural profession and industry, many of which are reflected in this building. We have computer-generated presentation technology that didn’t exist, materials like CLT that didn’t exist, cut with computerized tools that didn’t exist, all delivering stunning buildings that probably couldn’t have existed. . These are incredible times for architecture and Henning Larsen delivers here on so many levels.

To find out more or see the video overview of the building, go to Volvo Museum website.


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