World of Volvo opens in Gothenburg

15 April 2024
Credit: Rasmus Hjortshøj
  • Rasmus Hjortshøj
  • Rasmus Hjortshøj
  • Rasmus Hjortshøj
  • Rasmus Hjortshøj
  • Rasmus Hjortshøj



First visitors welcomed into nature-inspired experience centre

The World of Volvo has opened in Gothenburg, with visitors stepping under its timber canopy for the first time on 14th April, coinciding with Volvo’s annual birthday celebrations. Designed by Tenderstream member Henning Larsen, the unique 22,000 sq ft experience centre for the famed Swedish brand was inspired by the country’s concept of ‘Allemansrätten’, which denotes a fundamental right to experience the outdoors and roam freely on any land, while showing consideration for nature and for others.

The main timber structure forms three striking columns reminiscent of tree trunks, fanning out to carry the entire load of the roof and enveloping visitors in a welcoming forest-like canopy. The use of timber embodies a return to traditional building materials in the Scandinavian context, but does so through modern methods. A flexible computational workflow integrated from the very early phases made it possible to experiment with aspects of the building, while evaluating the structural implications with the manufacturer. “Not long ago, working with timber on this scale was hard to imagine,” says Fabia Baumann, structural design engineer. “Our industry is really on a path of change. It's just amazing that we could make this happen, from initial sketches that were all free form and had to be rationalised, to now seeing it unfold in construction.”

The expansive round structure encourages visitors to create their own journeys both indoors and outdoors, regardless of whether they hold tickets to the exhibitions inside. Surrounded by a thriving landscape that extends onto an accessible roof, the building is intended to embrace the regional landscape in form, materiality, and culture, bringing a native piece of Swedish nature to the middle of Gothenburg. Martin Stenberg Ringnér, associate design director at Henning Larsen, states: "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."

Lucy Nordberg
Tenderstream Head of Research

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