Volvo’s New Shrine: Massive Timber Museum to Usher in New Era

More than 2800 tons of timber - including 2400 glulam beams and 2700 cross-laminated timber boards in one of Europe's most impressive buildings.

Mon 15 Apr 24


The BMW Welt has Double Cones; the Porsche Museum has a 911 Kebab—or, as they call it, “Porchsepltatz.” And now, Volvo has a new tree heart following the opening of “World of Volvo,” which is part museum, part exhibit, and part delivery program – including a new restaurant run by a Michelin-star chef, Stefan Karlsson, all under a five-storey mass timber superstructure!

Opened yesterday, the 22,000-square-metre giant cross-laminated and glulam shrine to Volvo was designed by Henning Larsen, the practice behind Europe’s largest timber district under construction in Copenhagen

Wood Central understands that timbers from Sweden and Southern Europe were used extensively in the joinery, the windows, the ceilings, and the spine. The massive build took four years to construct and used 2800 tons of timber and a few leftover lamp bulbs from a SAAB gearbox building nearby.

Yesterday, Volvo welcomed the world’s media to its new “World of Volvo”—four years in the making. One of the highlights is our 4,500 m² interactive exhibition. Experience a journey centred around you that takes you from the past to the present and into the future. Footage courtesy of @worldofvolvo.

And the choice of April 14 is no accident, as it is the very day 97 years ago that the Swedish automaker’s first vehicle, the four-door OV4, left the assembly line – with Forbes reporting that more than 2,400 glulam beams and 2,700 cross-laminated timber boards (the three largest stretching 111 feet each) used in the construction.

“Not long ago, working with timber on this scale was hard to image,” according to Fabia Baumann, the structural engineer for the project, who added that architects on the build had to build a tailored digital workflow to support the design work.

“It’s just amazing that we could make this happen, from the initiative sketches that were free form and had to be rationalised to now seeing it unfold in construction,” Ms Baumann added.

The building will take shape as a collection of tree-like structures surrounded by glazed exterior walls

Timber is in the midst of a renaissance, according to Filip Francati, the lead architect for the project, who said, “New milestones in timber construction are being reached at a breakneck pace; however, despite strides in structural development, the aesthetic expression hasn’t kept pace.”

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

The new museum replaces the old one, which closed its doors in December. Last year, Hans Hedberg, Heritage Manager & Corporate Branding at Volvo Cars, provided @autosjaviermota with a tour of the old museum and spoke about the new World of Volvo, which is four years in the making.

The circular timber superstructure, which connects the three “tree trunks” together, was manufactured by Austrian company Wiehag GmbH – which produces PEFC-certified glulam for the building’s core – with the design inviting visitors to roam the centre and connect with the pine trees, moss and shrubs that surround the centre.

According to Søren Øllgaard, Design Director at Henning Larsen, the design pays homage to the Scandinavian outdoors, with the project honouring Sweden’s “Allemansratten” ethos – or “everyman’s right to roam”: “With its deep connection to Scandinavia, from its landscapes to its architectural tradition, World of Volvo has allowed us to explore the profound relationship between architecture and the natural environment.”

Inside Volvo World, the open space between the trees remains empty, and floor-to-ceiling glass facades create a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. Lindner Scandinavia AB provides the interior cladding and façade.

Over the decades, Volvo has expanded its global footprint, evolving from a local carmaker to an international brand recognised for its safety innovations – with the new museum having a vast array of driving simulations, VR googles and an area allowing visitors to scoop rubber balls, out of a pit with a mini Volvo-powered extractor.

In 1959, Volvo introduced the three-point seatbelt, an invention that it donated to other car manufacturers. Inside the centre, visitors can view an installation showing the impact of crashes on a stake of wooden chairs – showing the effect of crashing without a seatbelt at 15km/per hour and 30km/per hour. The lesson? Not wearing a seatbelt is about as smart as falling headfirst from a stack of eight chairs!

The interior will be used to display Volvo products

The new centre replaces the old Volvo Museum, which closed its doors in December 2023, as well as a museum, exhibition and delivery centre; it will also become home to Volvo’s Overseas Delivery service – taking advantage of its location to the airport and assembly plant.

The site, a collaboration between the Volvo Group and its commercial fleet division, Volvo Cars, will also host future product reveals and TED talks.


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    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


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