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Automotive Research and Design Centre, Chile

Part 2 Project 2000
Shaun Miles Rooker
University of the Bio Bio Concepcion Chile
Automotive Design Centres are unusual in their obsession with security, involving almost military level secrecy measures, to keep their prototypes hidden to ensure sales of an existing model. This permitted an interesting visual game of cat and mouse to be played with any visitor entering the building for meetings or product launches. Conceptually it was essential that the centre could not be read in a traditional architectural manner. The visually arresting, low security administration volume draws attention away from the engineering studios below whose sinuous form lies part buried by the natural contours of the site. Maximum risk areas such as design studios are located underground at the extreme of the outcrop and are visually protected by the vertical interior design department.

When approaching the design process various methods from automotive design, such as simultaneous engineering and paperless prototyping were incorporated. Hence the building was developed in 3D, using computer animations to assess the visual sensation experienced by the end user moving through the spaces. Once the conceptual model was refined and the construction method considered it was possible to perform virtual seismic testing to ensure the occupants safety, drawing a parallel with crash testing simulations performed by automotive engineers.

Shaun Miles Rooker

The sinuous forms of the Miles’ scheme would have been impossible to create without the use of CAD systems and it is evident that building was designed in 3D with the computer not just utilising it for presentation purposes. This method of approaching the architectural design also allowed the following principles to emerge :-

a- Rupturing the traditional Cartesian system common to two dimensional representation
b- Incorporation of constructional elements from the conception of the design process
c - Constant integration of detailed information to the virtual model, including obtaining built examples from the internet, throughout the design process replacing the tradition lineal development of concept/space-planning/detailing.
d- Application of simulation programmes which evaluate the behaviour of the building without the need for physical models.

These helped produce a truly revolutionary building, which, although perfectly anchored within the local climate and cultural identity, stood out to produce a landmark piece of architecture.

The conceptual master-plan incorporated Chile’s Atacama desert and frozen wastelands for Automotive testing in the extremes of climate, reducing the current delay of information between the testing grounds and design centres. Miles, therefore provided a realistic solution in Chile to a problem faced by many European Car Manufacturers

• Page Hits: 1407         • Entry Date: 09 February 2000         • Last Update: 10 May 2001