Dezeen Magazine

The World of Volvo will be visible from the highway

Henning Larsen designs tree-like volumes made from mass timber for Volvo experience centre

Danish architecture firm Henning Larsen Architects has unveiled its design for a mass-timber building in Sweden that will be used as an experience centre and meeting place for car manufacturer Volvo.

Named the World of Volvo and located in Gothenburg, Sweden, the 22,000 square-metre development aimed to combine the traditional craftsmanship of Scandinavian design and timber construction with a "modern approach".

"Architecture is currently in the midst of a timber renaissance, with new milestones in timber construction being reached at a breakneck pace," said Henning Larsen lead architect Filip Francati.

"World of Volvo has been an exciting opportunity to push the boundaries and we hope that it can set a new standard for the many ways we can use timber in architecture."

Render of World of Volvo appearing amongst green plants and landscaping
World of Volvo is a mass-timber building that was designed by Henning Larsen

The structure will be used to bring together Volvo's brands, including Volvo Group and Volvo Cars, under one roof to share the history, tradition and future of the brand. It will house exhibition spaces, a restaurant, and also conference and meeting spaces.

World of Volvo will take shape as a low-rise tubular building with an overhanging roof.

The exterior and interior of the building will be divided by curving panes of glass, which wrap around the entirety of the building to open it up to the outside.

Render of the exterior of World of Volvo with people meeting outside
The building will take shape as a collection of tree-like structures surrounded by glazed exterior walls

In Henning Larsen's visualisations, the interior of the building is organised around a central collection of three tree-trunk-like forms, which form rooms that will house small exhibition spaces and building services.

These will be surrounded by columns that extend and branch toward and across the ceiling to the exterior canopy, similar to the branches of a tree.

The building's structural columns and beams will be constructed from glue-laminated timber (glulam), which will be bonded by a moisture-resistant structural adhesive.

As well as the three trunks, the interior will also feature a set of oversized steps that will link each of the building's levels and act as display areas for exhibition items.

The floor slabs of the centre will be constructed using locally sourced cross-laminated timber.

The landscaping around the World of Volvo will see native plants and flowers surround the building between meandering paths and staggered paved areas, and aims to encourage visitors to "inhabit the landscape however they like."

Interior render of the World of Volvo
The interior will be used to display Volvo products

"Our approach brings a native piece of Swedish nature to the middle of the city of Gothenburg," said Henning Larsen's global design director for landscape, Sonja Stockmarr.

"The landscape, from the Swedish quarries and the wooden structure, built with the pine trees, moss, and shrubs of the Swedish forest, make up the nature surrounding World of Volvo."

Henning Larsen will incorporate a promenade that extends along the eastern bank of the Mölndalsån river, connecting the centre and its visitors with Gothenburg's city centre.

World of Volvo is expected to be completed in late 2023 and open to visitors in 2024.

Elsewhere, Henning Larsen has revealed plans for "one of the largest contemporary wood structures in Denmark".

The practice is also developing Copenhagen's "first all-timber neighbourhood" on the outskirts of the city.

More images and plans

Ground floor plan of World of Volvo
First floor plan of World of Volvo