Wilkinson Eyre Architects completes work on the world’s largest Audi Centre, London
The stunning new 190,000 sq ft Audi Centre for Audi UK is prominently located adjacent to the elevated section of the M4, one of the busiest roads in the UK. Its seven storeys incorporate three showroom floors capable of displaying as many as 116 cars, two floors of exhibition and conference space and two basement levels housing a 32 bay workshop and extensive parking facilities.
In the creation of this curvaceous glass and metal external structure, Wilkinson Eyre has drawn inspiration from nature, art and science to create a technologically advanced sculptural form with sweeping curves that are reminiscent of a manta ray fish and the aerodynamic wing shapes of a B2 Stealth Aircraft. The powerful geometry is curved in both plan and section and is intended to be viewed from all angles – whether from above, at eye level or at speed from the adjacent motorway.
A fully glazed raked façade provides an ‘exciting’ shop window for the showroom spaces within. These are spectacular, double-height spaces, filled with daylight, in which cars can be displayed at a variety of levels and perspectives. The roof is a ‘standing seam’ structure made from aluminium sheets, each approximately 40m in length without any joints.
The building features a series of innovations, such as a 70m wide mezzanine floor totally suspended by a series of raking rods from the first floor slab, creating an impressive double height show room, a hydraulic car lift serving seven floors as well as a substantial 9m deep basement: a watertight construction, built under the water level table with its perimeter walls being spaced out of the boundary walls by no more than half a metre. The building has only been made possible by the use of a very energy efficient ‘ventilated façade’ reducing the heat gain and heat loss.