Henning Larsen reveals timber design for World of Volvo centre

The design behind World of Volvo (Image: Henning Larsen)

Architecture and design studio Henning Larsen has revealed the design for World of Volvo, a 22,000m² experience centre as site work based in Gothenburg, Sweden.

According to the studio’s press release, the centre is designed around the Swedish concept of “Allemansrätten”, denoting the fundamental right that all citizens share to nature: the right to roam freely on any land, public or private, showing consideration for nature and for others.

“Our goal was to give form to something very essential to the Swedish spirit. World of Volvo’s circular form, the timber materiality, its integration with the landscape, and, fundamentally, its openness – these things are all parts of a core collective identity,” said Martin Stenberg Ringnér, Associate Design Director, Sweden.

While Sweden, like many Nordic countries, has a long tradition of timber construction, Henning Larsen took a modern approach for World of Volvo. The beams and columns are built from glue-laminated timber (glulam). Computer-controlled fabrication allows the curved glulam pieces to be cut with a high degree of precision. Rigidity and continuity in the structure is ensured with metal connectors that can be hidden inside the wooden members. The floor slabs are made of locally sourced cross laminated timber (CLT).

“Architecture is currently in the midst of a timber renaissance, with new milestones in timber construction being reached at breakneck pace,” explained Filip Francati, lead design architect at Henning Larsen. “But despite strides in structural development, aesthetic expression hasn’t kept pace. 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.”

The project is expected to be completed in late 2023 and opened to visitors in 2024. 

“This project is incredibly special to us,” said Søren Øllgaard, design director at Henning Larsen. “With its deep connection to Scandinavia, from its landscapes to its architectural tradition, World of Volvo has given us to the opportunity to explore the profound relationship between architecture and the natural environment.”

Henning Larsen also designed KAB House, a housing association based in Copenhagen, Denmark, that features a timber interior.