Automotive and architectural design worlds parallel one another in many different ways. So how are these similarities translated into the built form? How does one manifest that which stimulates the senses like a beautiful & dynamic automobile into a large static building?
The importance lies in the intersection & seamless combination of technology and art. The Drive|Automotive Design Studio takes its form from that of the automobile attaining its highest performance as a machine. It is this extreme which has inspired the radical cantilever. Intended to convey this dynamic notion of redline speed and movement, the building interprets those forces as the force of gravity imposed on a structure of that size. The visual tension created by the cantilever is meant to give a sense of movement and speed as well as a sense of the ever going struggle against gravity, like a muscle in constant flex.
The building envelope consists of two layers or “skins”. The inner skin is a clear glass curtain wall which acts as the primary building envelope. The outer skin, (transluscent photovoltaics) supported on a secondary steel structure, is movable and can “open” and “close”. The double skin allows for operable windows during inclement weather reducing the need for mechanical air conditioning. The building also uses ground source heating which is powered by the photovoltaics embedded in the exterior skin. The building site is left entirely natural with the existing grasses left to grow undisturbed and with parking located underground to minimize hard surfaces and water runoff.
In responce to form, the structure, and hence the machine aspect of the building is highly complex and unique. Using a tubular steel frame, more commonly found in automobile construction, the dramatic cantilever and form are possible. Similar to an automobile, the structure and form are inseparable.
The facility consists of three main disciplines; the studio, the shop and administration. The building was conceived for a stand alone design studio specializing in the conceptualization & prototyping of automobiles of all kinds. One challenging aspect was creating a plan which allowed
the movement of large to full scale prototypes up and through most of the building. This was achieved by creating an oversized lift and using flexible and movable furniture. The flexibility also benifitted the changing team nature of the studio.