Tuesday, November 1, 2011

CP: SPRING[semester]2009: AUDI_headquarters

Audi is a German auto maker whose designs have been the basis of style, sportiness, and comfort. However Audi’s new design drive has a vocabulary that looks more towards future trends. The key words are: Fluent Lines, Surface Transition, and Emotion. What is most important is to develop a vocabulary with visual connections so the car and the brand can be easily identified. The main idea: BRANDING.
Audi Headquarters Entry
Audi Headquarters roof view
View from South
View from East
Detail: Shading Panels
This project is a design for the Headquarter offices of German automaker: Audi. The site is located in Santa Monica, CA near the Santa Monica Courthouse on Main Street. 

I began by looking at the fluidity of the highway system, but mostly in 2D. My analysis dealt with the breaking off of smaller roads and that exact moment where a road splits in two. Sleekness, smoothness, movement, speed, motion, FLUIDITY. These were the ideas I intended to capture. I wanted the concept to be seen in plan, section, elevations, through the skin, and in the details of the interior.

The program also benefited from the concept of the highway and its fluidity. I broke up the floor plans by the design areas/showrooms and the offices on the first three floors, leaving the top two floors free to the studios. In general, the program spaces started on the South Western tip of my building and separated into the offices to the north and the mock-up labs, car showroom, and marketing to the South. The play of the form also reflected some program aspects. For example, although the Design Director’s office was on the second floor, it is the portion of the building that sticks out the most. This organization allowed for good coordination between program, form, and skin.

The north façade was slanted back about 17 degrees and was completely glazed to allow for sunlight to enter the spaces. The skin on the south façade was a double skin system of steel louvers and glazing. The louvers fold down at certain areas according to program and to better connect the floors of the building visually. The floors on the south façade step out to allow for self-shading (along with the louvers). The bottom floor is completely glazed in order to give the illusion that the rest of the building is hovering over the ground plane.

Audi. Sportiness, yet comfort. Luxury and style. This is architecture that represents a brand, a brand that represents a culture. I need to make sure my building stands out and advertises the Audi name. For a while Audi was struggling with image, something readily recognizable out on the street that appealed to current and future customers. The brand has now been redesigning and redefining itself to better reach those potential, current and past customers. This building is ideal to this idea of branding that Audi is struggling with. The Entry of the Building has the logo of Audi. It is on the South and is the area of the building where one walks right under the atrium and passes through to the back of the building all while the visitor walks past car displays and logos of Audi. The atrium is a suspended class extension of the floors in the center of the building that allow for a physical and visual vertical connection of the building as well as let light into the spaces. The building will be an icon, something that the people of Santa Monica will see and think, “This is Audi, sleek, sexy, and luxurious!”

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