10-12-2009, 09:09 AM
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World's Largest Audi Centre Opens in West London
MILTON KEYNES, UNITED KINGDOM – October 12, 2009: The world’s largest Audi Centre - West London Audi – is officially being launched with a huge party for the capital’s top glitterati. Among the guests will be Bryan Ferry, Gordon Ramsay, Dominic Cooper, Jamie and Louise Rednapp, Phil Glenister, Keeley Hawes, Rupert Penry Jones, James Cordon, Ronan Keating, Beverley Knight, Davina McCall, Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Jackie Stewart.
The imposing new building, which represents a major investment of £45 million by Audi UK, consolidates the brand’s position as one of the global leaders in prestige car manufacturing.
Six years in the planning and execution, the stunning new 190,000 sq ft Audi Centre is prominently located adjacent to the elevated section of the M4. Its seven storeys incorporate three showroom floors capable of displaying as many as 116 cars, and two basement levels housing a 32-bay workshop and extensive parking facilities. The top two storeys are given over to the Audi quattro Rooms – a business and creative complex which operates as a conference centre.
The highly distinctive curved structure conceived by architects Wilkinson Eyre, famous for the design of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, provides an impressive showcase for the fast expanding 33 model Audi range.
The basement levels are an engineering marvel – they are built below the water table level (and the River Thames) and extend on all sides right up to the boundary lines of the premises.
“In its scope, size and complexity, West London Audi is like nothing we’ve built before. It is 100 times more complicated than a normal retail centre,” says Jeremy Hicks, director of Audi UK. “The sheer scale of this project is very emblematic of the increasing significance of Audi not only in the UK but globally.”
The strategically located landmark building is operated by the Sytner Group, a Sunday Times Best Company to Work For, which has 140 prestige franchise outlets across the UK. It will be staffed by 100 personnel and approximately 30,000 customers are expected through its doors in the next 12 months.
Gerard Nieuwenhuys, the Group’s UK Managing Director commented: “It is a great privilege to be chosen by Audi to operate this amazing flagship dealership. The West London Audi team are incredibly excited about the imminent opening and by the opportunity of delivering a world class service from what is without doubt a World Class facility.“\
In the creation of the vast glass and metal external structure, Wilkinson Eyre has drawn inspiration from nature, art and science to create an exciting and technologically advanced sculptural form. The elegantly sweeping curves are reminiscent of a manta ray fish, and the aerodynamic wing shapes of a B2 Stealth Aircraft. The roof itself is a ‘standing seam’ structure made from aluminium sheets, each approximately 40m in length without any joints.
A dramatic aluminium installation by Gerry Judah, designer of the soaring Audi centennial sculpture at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, dominates inside. Weighing almost a ton and featuring the record-breaking Auto Union Streamliner, the specially commissioned piece is suspended between three floors within the atrium. It took three cranes and two days to install this stunning centrepiece.
The Audi quattro Rooms on levels four and five feature not only a heritage section, displaying many of the innovations from Audi’s 100-year history, but also meeting rooms, exhibition space and a screening room with the very latest 103” Bang & Olufsen screens. Audi selected architect Miguel Beleza to design the two floors to create imposing architectural features that define the venue. Furniture has been provided by Fritz Hansen – the Danish designer furniture company.
”Audi is an enormously successful company with many ambitious plans for its future. With both our existing model ranges and a host of new models for new segments, we aim to grow to a total of 44 ranges by 2015. By creating retail premises of this magnitude with this level of sophistication, we are ensuring that our extensive and contemporary line-up of cars gets the showcase it deserves,“ concluded Jeremy Hicks