Porsche Pavilion by Henn Architekten in Autostadt, Wolfsburg, Germany
The new Porsche Pavilion is a creation by Martin Henn, Klaus Ransmayr, Paul Langley and rof. Dr. Gunter Henn of Henn Architekten. This wonderful free-flowing sculptural Pavilion pays tribute to the modernist architecture of Oscar Niemeyer in a refined and elegant way. 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.