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Saab City Automotive Centre

Part 1 Project 2008
Damon Ball
Oxford Brookes University, UK
Our obsession with the automobile is without doubt a trend we take for granted. Seeing the automobile as a threat to our planet is all too common and the death of the ‘super car’ is surely foreseen…………...isn’t it? Saab’s innovative engineers have always provided solutions to these problems by making their cars somewhat future proof with the ability for their engines to adapt to partial ratio's of bio-fuels. But now they have seen the real future; the epitome of eco-friendly automobiles ... The Aero X eco- super car.

Celebrating the launch and birth of a new ‘breed’ of eco-friendly super cars, the scheme offers a socially extraordinary experience to visitors. A whole network of connection and free-roaming systems are applied to the whole project. From car conception through to purchase, everything can be found. The relationship between the car and the architecture, the principles of the car and the principles of the architecture and environment work together in harmony.

The ‘freedom’ to roam without hassle, with all the time needed to make your special choice. Whether visiting for an in depth outlook on Saab’s history, buying a second hand or brand new car, seeing your car being manufactured and driving it away, having a family day out and picnic by the lake and parks whilst watching these amazingly beautiful machines in the setting they belong, Saab City is a place for everybody to enjoy.

The project delivers Saab’s philosophy as a company in being the innovators of eco-design in vehicles whilst providing a social and fun element to the way we shop and experience our ‘fetish’ with purchasing a car. Space saving and limited/ eco-friendly construction techniques favored the design, creating a Saab Community (City) for all to enjoy. Afforestation, harmonising nature with technology (Saab’s vision and outlook) with the use of existing infrastructure and access conceptualised the scheme. Extending and giving back to the community…... An offer of a social involvement to the celebration of the future……… An extension to the Oxford Spires and Oxfords car manufacturing heritage……A landmark for both Oxford and Saab; for all to enjoy.

SAAB Move Your Mind………….

Damon Ball

It is without question that the previously affectionate relationship architects had with automobiles no longer exists. While early modernists like Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller etc saw the automobile as engineering which could inspire architecture, nowadays the car is seen as an enemy to the future of our planet. Influenced by Schwarzer's book(2004) Zoomscape and Borden's essay 'The Pleasures of Driving' in The Politics of Making(2007) students explored the complex problem of the contemporary pleasure and pain associated with the automobile.

Taking advantage of the history of car-making in Oxford, students investigated the consumption of cars as a commercial fetish and designed an environmental responsive car showroom. Rather than treat the automobile and automotive industry as politically incorrect the studio aimed to embrace the problem of our love affair with cars and shopping while giving back to the environment via architectural design.

Mr John Stevenson
Dr Igea Troiani
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