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.