This project won the 2013 Architizer A+ Jury Award and Popular Choice Award in the branding category. See the full list of winners here.
Everyone who competed in the Architecture + Branding category of the A+ Awards faced a tough challenge: How exactly does a building speak for a brand? If learning to harmonize with the voice of the client is a survival skill in architecture, designing for an established corporate identity requires a particularly astute sort of visual karaoke. The architects must hit every note in tune with the brand's unique voice, or the finished building will betray a lack of purpose.
With a coupe-like stainless-steel canopy, HENN’s Porsche Pavilion uses the vocabulary of a sleek sports car without getting too literal. The architects' abstract approach revved up both the A+ jurors and our readers, who awarded HENN the A+ Jury and Popular Choice Awards. The pavilion, which hugs a lagoon with a set of gleaming, race-track-like steps, is parked on the campus of Autostadt, the Volkswagen Group's theme park and brand museum in Wolfsburg, Germany.
Completed in 2012, the Porsche Pavilion is the most recent addition to Autostadt. The theme park (whose master plan was designed by HENN in 2000) also includes pavilions for Lamborghini, Audi, and Volkswagen. The Porsche Pavilion functions as a kind of brand home base, inspiring the most die-hard fans to make a pilgrimage to Wolfsburg to pick up their new cars.
The pavilion juts out over a lagoon with a curving canopy welded from 620 stainless steel sheets and reinforced with ribs—a nod to the monocoque construction method often used in automobiles and aircraft. The canopy forms an acoustic enclosure around the lagoon and shades the waterside steps, which double as seating for several hundred. The underside of the pavilion reflects disturbances in the water, and its sandblasted exterior shimmers in the sun. The building, writes project architect Klaus Ransmayr, "allows the visitor to feel the brand without showing the car."
That's what the interior is for, after all. The pavilion lures viewers in via an elliptically curved ramp that opens onto 4,300 square feet of exhibition space and displays of cars. "The visitors are drawn to the dynamic form that blurs the boundaries between interior and exterior," writes Ransmayr. "Upon exiting, they arrive at water level with a view of the production factories, reminding the visitor of both the past and present."
All photos: HG Esch