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Friday, March 27, 2009

'Car Experience' - Automobile Museum, Nanjing, China

Automobile Museum design provides interactive driving experience

'Car Experience' is the project winner of the international invitation competition for the construction of the Automobile Museum in Nanjing, just announced.

The design utilises the automobile as an object of desire, exploration, technological prowess, as an article to display and as the means of navigating the building. Upon arriving at the museum visitors scale the first external ramp of the museum with their own private car, like a SAFARI, they park their car on the roof and visit by foot the internal ramp going down.

The building acts as an urban car exhibitor, with its corners and angles filled with tempting shining exposed automobiles. Here everything is geared to the automobile – the car is the point of reference. There are no stairs to different floors, walls and elevators, but ramps which wind sinuously upwards creating a fluid conception of space, and where the flux of cars can move freely and reach the different levels of the edifice.

On an overall scale the area tectonically resembles a road, with a structure similar to that of an elevated motorway or a car park, but on a more human scale, the structure is as complex, ergonomic and sophisticated as the interior of a car.

The principal structure of the building is a spiral ramp with a glass partition dividing the exterior from the interior. In the internal part, reserved for pedestrians, the incline is more gradual, whereas the exterior and steeper side is for the transit of cars.

The building’s typology develops sequentially, its structure similar to that of a film where the undisputed protagonist is the automobile. In fact the visitor, as the spectator of a film, is obliged, frame by frame, to follow the physical and psychological route as dictated by the museum’s architect.

The ascent up the external spiral offers a rather “extreme” sensation – as the ramp consists of rapid ascents and descents which create an undulating, uneven surface facilitating the exhibition of cars from different angles and enabling the visitor to observe them from either above or below. This alternating movement with its practical yet amusing function creates a corresponding visual effect on the outer façade of the building, which appears as a fanned sheet of paper, folded and refolded, and where each fold is an opportunity to exhibit at a suitable angle the cars which are attached to the inclining floor. 'Car Experience' is on course for completion in 2010.
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