Volkswagen’s Autostadt, Engineered for a Good Show
January 31, 2012
The monumental strain modernists divined in the seemingly ponderous infrastructures at the beginning of the last century would inform the design of Depression/wartime-era public works, which married the efficiencies of engineering with a highly keen sensibility for spectacle and drama. The aesthetic would become exhausted to a great degree by late modernists and even moreso by the high-tech architects like Foster, Rogers, and the whole gang who favored structural legibility (i.e. stylization) over necessity and spawned the flashy ilk of corporate architecture that rules our cities today. All these tendencies are evident in the Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany, Volkswagen’s production facilities park-cum-theme park that offers tourists an aestheticized industrial experience. Continue.
The Autostadt opened over a decade ago and in that time, the grounds have amassed a series of glass-and-steel pavilions that house everything from a museum and cinema to showrooms and interactive installations. The most popular attraction, however, are the autotuerme, twin 16-story glass silos that serve as giant parking structures. Located adjacent to the manufacturing plant, the towers hold rings of cars that are stacked 48-meters high. In an impressive display of precision, newly-assembled vehicles are rolled out onto a conveyor belt spanning an underground tunnel carrying them to interiors of the silos, whereupon a mechanical arm running along a central beam hoists them up into the air to their prescribed destination.
The acrobatics are reserved for customers who pick up their new car in person and may, along with his family and friends, tour the silo cores, each of which is packed with 400 vehicles at one time. The system is calibrated to deliver upwards 600 cars to customers on a daily basis.
[via that's like whoa]