The 2.5 acre site was home to a well-established car distributorship. The challenge was to reinvigorate the distributorship’s brand image, double the length of road-front showroom display and maximize the efficiency of the site for parking and external display.
The triangular form of the car showroom, prompted by the shape of the site, is particularly suitable for a big open space that requires no subdivision. The new parapet aligns with the existing structure, resulting in a lofty double-height interior. A mezzanine for sales staff overlooks the display area and connects to the offices and meeting rooms on the first floor of BMW House.
A veil of frameless glazing, light as gossamer, displays the cars to full advantage. Excessive glare and solar heat gain are obviated by a high-level brise-soleil on the south-east (roadside) façade and the deep canopy facing southwest.
Supported at 6m intervals on a light grid of circular steel columns, the wedge-shaped roof appears almost to float above the showroom. Instantly memorable, precisely engineered and with a sleek dynamism that remains fully under control, the BMW showroom embodies many of the core values made famous by the classic motoring marque itself.
Special low-iron glass, chosen for its luminosity and clarity, is supported on a delicate filigree of vertical bowstring trusses – used here for the first time by STW, although horizontal bowstrings featured in several previous atrium designs, starting with the Offices at Wood Quay of 1992-94.