GRAFT Gesellschaft von Architeken collaborated with WES & Partner Landschaftsarchitekten to design this intriguing new leaf- shaped pavilion for Volkswagen’s Autostadt. The swooping canopy seems to arc weightlessly over an outdoor driving space at Volkswagen’s factory in Wolfsburg, northern Germany. Embedded in the grassy hills, the suspended structure is anchored to the ground at just two points.
The arched pavilion allows Volkswagen customers to test out the company’s new features of automatic parking, driving assistance and traffic sign recognition regardless of weather conditions. Although covered, the driving space feels open and airy thanks to the vast canopy opening and curvature at either side of the driving area. Designed to provide a quiet area for testing out Volkswagen’s innovative new features, the pavilion is located in a private environment that is also protected from direct sunlight and rain.
The “floating” roof is made from a double skin of welded steel plates and a network of steel wire ropes that are arranged in a lattice pattern across the curve of structure. A translucent membrane is stretched over the wire rope skeleton, allowing natural light to enter during daylight hours and eliminating the need for artificial light.
The roof meets a curvilinear service station at one end, where customers can inquire about or purchase cars. And the leaf-like structure is complimented by a lush landscaped area that surrounds the test driving area.