GRAFT's new Ausfahrt centre

VW unveils Pringle shaped carport

VW's new Ausfahrt centre allows you to test out your new car (without driving it into someone else's)

Even for experienced drivers, getting to grips with a new car's myriad functions can be an embarrassing experience. Now, VW may have found a way around much of the pain for its customers.

The Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany, is VW's answer to Disneyland. Indeed, the auto manufacturer's visitor attraction is the second most visited theme park in Europe. Here, motoring enthusiasts can view vintage cars, try 4X4s on a dedicated off-road course, and visit pavilions dedicated to many of VW's marques, from Bentley to Skoda.



However, at its new 15,000-square-metre Ausfahrt service centre, a new buyer can also try his or her car's features before it's taken on the open road. Aside from a private track, the Ausfahrt also includes a covered pavilion where drivers can experiment with functions, such as automatic parking and traffic recognition systems.

The German architecture and design firm GRAFT was tasked with building the Ausfahrt, which translates into English as 'car exit'. Its brief was to create "a quiet area," says the firm, "where the buyer of a new car could get familiar with all the functions in an almost private atmosphere. The space had to be protected from rain and direct sunlight, while allowing enough daylight to avoid the usage of energetically expensive and unnecessary artificial light."


It's an interesting and rather handsome commission. GRAFT compares this car port to a leaf, though we can't help but notice its similarities with the popular wheat and potato snack, Pringles. Whatever your closest visual reference, this saddle-shaped, steel-framed roof, is an elegant cover for the clumsiest of driving. Find out more about the structure at GRAFT's site. To learn more about the way we build around the world, please consider our Phaidon Architecture Travel Guide app, available now in the our dedicated iTunes store.