Werner Sobek, Stuttgart/Germany
2013 − 2014
2014 − 2015
Services by Werner Sobek
General planning (WP 1 − 8)
Nils Hendrik Müller, Braunschweig/Germany
A visit to the Autostadt is an encounter between humans, automobiles and industry. For many people, the Autostadt Customer Center is their first chance to get to know their new car. It is important to visualise this memorable moment: the vehicle and all its features must be displayed in the best possible way. The CustomerCenter’s ceiling plays a vital role in making this a reality. For a long time, the building’s ceiling was dominated by a dark grey steel structure. Now, however, a new construction made of pure white material creates a brighter interior and enhances the presentation of the vehicles. The ceiling is approximately 4,900 m² in size and consists of aluminium sandwich panels with a mineral core. Fastened to a specially designed substructure, these panels are laid like a shell over the existing steel frame. A construction made from expanded metal is used to form a smooth transition between the ceiling and the walls. Recessed lighting channels create accents and direct the spatial orientation of the interior towards the centre.
The ceiling’s uniform surface and bright white tone result in a harmonious visual appearance. As well as meeting aesthetic specifications, it was also necessary to integrate numerous technical functions into the ceiling. For instance, sprinklers and a smoke extraction system – neither of which are visible to the visitor – are incorporated into the structure. Perforations in the ceiling also fulfil several tasks. In the exterior spaces, these holes are backed with a nonwoven material and optimise the CustomerCenter’s acoustics. When necessary, they also allow smoke to be extracted from the interior of the building. Concealed high-intensity LED lights provide indirect illumination. This is supplemented with spot lights and light panels in the ceiling channels. Optimal, glare-free lighting conditions are thus guaranteed at all times. The area above the Business Lounge has been dealt with separately due to its spatial setting: the ceiling here consists of metallic cylinders. This forms a special space for doing business by creating a varying overall appearance that generates an inviting atmosphere for meetings and discussions. Integrated lighting produces an effect reminiscent of a starry sky.