World of Volvo

Ohra Studio, Ukraine / London U.K
December 2, 2022
World of Volvo, Gothenburg, Sweden

At World of Volvo, native Swedish landscapes and the right to roam take center stage. The new experience centre will unite Volvo Group and Volvo Cars to share the history, tradition, and future of the famed Swedish brand in a single structure entirely built in wood.

Located in Gothenburg’s event district – home to many of the city’s museums, parks, and entertainment venues – the 22,000 m²/236,805 ft² building is expected to be completed in late 2023, with the timber construction started in the spring of 2021. 
World of Volvo is designed around the Swedish concept of “Allemansrätten”, denoting the fundamental right that all citizens share to nature: the right to roam freely on any land (public or private), showing consideration for nature and for others. This tenet has become not just a right, but a central part of the Swedish ethos and one that lives in citizens, businesses, and organisations alike – Volvo included. The circular form of World of Volvo, encompassing both care of nature and consideration for people, encourages visitors to make their own experience both inside and outside, regardless of whether they hold tickets to the exhibitions inside.
World of Volvo’s timber construction is at once the most forward-facing and most traditional element of the project. While Sweden (like many Nordic countries) has a long tradition of timber construction, World of Volvo takes a decidedly modern approach. The beams and columns are built from glulam timber, a wood product that constitutes multiple layers of dimensional lumber bonded by a durable moisture-resistant structural adhesive. Computer-controlled fabrication allows the curved glulam pieces to be cut with a high degree of precision. Rigidity and continuity in the structure is guaranteed with metal connectors that can be hidden inside the wooden members. The floor slabs are made of locally sourced CLT, cross laminated timber.

“Our goal was to give form to something very essential to the Swedish spirit. World of Volvo’s circular form, the timber materiality, its integration with the landscape, and, fundamentally, its openness – these things are all parts of a core collective identity,” says Martin Stenberg Ringnér, Associate Design Director, Sweden.

Embracing Swedish Nature

The reference to nature in the arcing “branches” and roof “canopy” is by design, with the concept for the structure centered around the idea of The Mountain (the landscape and building’s base) and The Tree (the building itself.)

The large landscape that surrounds the building brings the nature of Sweden to the center of Gothenburg, covering the area in delicate flowers and native plants that bloom between, rocky outcroppings and meandering paths. And just like in the landscapes across the country, visitors are encouraged to inhabit the landscape however they like, keeping in mind the principle of ‘allemansrätten’: leave no trace.

Growing out from the Mountain are three vast “Trees”, their trunks large enough to contain small exhibit spaces, vertical circulation, bran exhibition, and service functions. The open space between the trees is left largely empty, save for sculptural stairs (the fertile Swedish forest floor) that link the level and exhibit items that dot the floor. The interior space blends smoothly with the outdoors, a floor-to-ceiling glass façades creating a seamless transition into the sprawling nature beyond.

  • Location:
    • Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Size:
    • 22,000 m²/236,805 ft²
  • Year:
    • Expected 2023
  • Status:
  • Client:
    • AB Volvo and Volvo Cars
  • Services:
  • Team:
    • Avarn
    • Andersson & Hultmark
    • BRA bygg, BRA mark and BRA teknik
    • Brion Ventilation AB
    • Cedås Akustik AB
    • Confire
    • Fredblad, Vinergi
    • Inhouse tech
    • Lindner Scandinavia
    • Nordström Kelly Arkitekter AB
    • Optima Engineering
    • Prefab syd
    • Wiehag
  • Visualizations:
    • KVANT-1
  • Photographer:
    • Ramus Hjortshøj

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