work begins for Henning Larsen’s World of Volvo


Henning Larsen Architects has designed a circular timber structure for ‘World of Volvo’, an experience center and meeting place for Volvo in Gothenburg, Sweden. The project will unite the Volvo Group and Volvo Cars brand in a 22,000 sqm building inspired by the Scandinavian landscape, environment, and traditions.


‘This project is incredibly special to us,’ says Søren Øllgaard, Design Director at Henning Larsen. ‘With its deep connection to Scandinavia, from its landscapes to its architectural tradition, World of Volvo has given us to the opportunity to explore the profound relationship between architecture and the natural environment.’


‘We commit to create a landmark, a new icon and destination in the city centre of Gothenburg. We also commit to gathering people in an inspiring meeting place reflecting Volvo’s human centric approach and perspectives. Our aim with World of Volvo is to deliver a premium experience in a place where we combine entertainment; exhibitions, talks, conferences, and music, as well as food, drinks and shopping,’ adds Magnus Wrahme CEO at World of Volvo.

henning larsen shapes circular 'world of volvo' experience center with glulam and CLT
images by Kvant1



giving form to ‘Allemansrätten’


Henning Larsen first won the interview competition for World of Volvo in late 2018. The winning scheme is designed around the Swedish ‘right to roam’, or ‘Allemansrätten’, which allows all citizens to roam freely on any public or private land.


The architects have translated this ethos into a circular form with beams and columns built from glulam timber and floor slabs made of locally sourced CLT. 


‘Our goal was to give form to something very essential to the Swedish spirit. World of Volvo’s circular form, the timber materiality, its integration with the landscape, and, fundamentally, its openness – these things are all parts of a core collective identity,’ says Martin Stenberg Ringnér, Associate Design Director, Sweden.


‘Architecture is currently in the midst of a timber renaissance, with new milestones in timber construction being reached at breakneck pace,’ explains Filip Francati, Lead Design Architect at Henning Larsen. ‘But despite strides in structural development, aesthetic expression hasn’t kept pace. World of Volvo has been an exciting opportunity to push the boundaries and we hope that it can set a new standard for the many ways we can use timber in architecture.’

henning larsen shapes circular 'world of volvo' experience center with glulam and CLT



inspired by nature


As well as its materiality, the design of the experience center makes reference to nature in the arcing ‘branches’ and roof ‘canopy’. The concept for the structure is centered around the idea of The Mountain (the landscape and building’s base) and The Tree (the building itself.)


The large landscape that surrounds the building brings the nature of Sweden to the center of Gothenburg, covering the area in delicate flowers and native plants that bloom between, rocky outcroppings and meandering paths. And just like in the landscapes across the country, visitors are encouraged to inhabit the landscape however they like, keeping in mind the principle of Allemansrätten: leave no trace.


‘Our approach brings a native piece of Swedish nature to the middle of the city of Gothenburg,’ says Sonja Stockmarr, Global Design Director for Landscape at Henning Larsen. ‘The landscape, from the Swedish quarries and the wooden structure, built with the pine trees, moss, and shrubs of the Swedish forest, make up the nature surrounding World of Volvo.’

henning larsen shapes circular 'world of volvo' experience center with glulam and CLT



Growing out from the Mountain are three vast ‘Trees’, their trunks large enough to contain small exhibit spaces, vertical circulation, bran exhibition, and service functions. The open space between the trees is left largely empty, save for sculptural stairs (the fertile Swedish forest floor) that link the level and exhibit items that dot the floor. The interior space blends smoothly with the outdoors, a floor-to-ceiling glass façades creating a seamless transition into the sprawling nature beyond.


The timber structure has already started to be erected on site in Gothenburg’s Event district. The building is expected to be complete in late 2023 and open to visitors in 2024.

henning larsen shapes circular 'world of volvo' experience center with glulam and CLT




project info:


name: World of Volvo

type: Experience Center and meeting place

location: Gothenburg, Sweden

client: World of Volvo

architecture: Henning Larsen

landscape: Henning Larsen

interior design: Nordström Kelly Arkitekter AB and Henning Larsen

wood structure: Engineering and production by Wiehag GmbH 

wood structure: interior claddings, and facade by Lindner Scandinavia AB

structural engineering: Optima Engineering AB and BRA Teknik

main contractor: BRA Bygg

contractor landscape: BRA Mark

concept: 2018

construction start: 2022

expected completion: 2023

inauguration: 2024

size: 22,000 sqm (237,000 sqft)

certifications: LEED Gold and WELL Gold

renders: Kvant1