When Silicon Valley auto dealer Adam Simms chose a site on busy El Camino Real for his Fisker Automotive and McLaren Automotive dealerships, the new buildings had to stand out in the same way that the manufacturers’ cool, cleanly tailored vehicles stand out from the competition. Valerio Dewalt Train Associates designed two showrooms, each designed to reflect the unique brand and style of the automobiles within.
The 2,500-square-foot showroom for Fisker, a California-based manufacturer of premium plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, occupies a rectangular volume with a polished concrete floor, exposed steel beams, and a cantilevered roof. Sliding panels allow the showroom to open up to the outdoors, connecting interior and exterior vehicle display spaces under one large canopy. The use of raw materials and an art gallery aesthetic contrasts with the refined design of the Fisker cars.
To reflect the environmental responsibility of the automobiles for sale, the design for Fisker minimizes the amount of material resources required: the beams and roof deck are perforated, while the exterior walls and soffit consist of thin transparent polycarbonate layers reinforced by a honeycomb pattern. The roof overhang protects the glass from the sun, reducing cooling costs, and a total of four car charging stations are available to the public. Eighty percent of construction materials can be recycled. Solar panels power the Fisker sign outside, while a sustainably harvested wood panel connects the two showrooms.
For McLaren, a British manufacturer of high-performance sports cars, the showroom is designed around the pedigree of McLaren Racing, featuring new cars at the leading edge of innovation. An existing 4,000-square-foot showroom was fully remodeled and accentuated by a new circular glass enclosure. The interior has a museum-like minimal aesthetic with white finishes, gray porcelain floor tiles, and a circular white floor. A lounge with leather sofas and a kitchenette contains multimedia displays and allows customers to watch videos of McLaren race cars in action.
The complex is designed to achieve a level of sustainability equivalent to LEED Silver, which is required by the City of Palo Alto.
+ Project facts
Green Showroom for Fisker-McLaren Dealership
Palo Alto, California
Architect: Valerio Dewalt Train Associates
Project Team: Joe Valerio, Erik Rogers
Location: 4190 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Client: Adam Simms
Date of occupancy: November 2011
Gross square footage: Total Project Square Feet (all 4 buildings =13,400 sf)
Square feet for each building:
Total Building: 2,590 sf
Office: 900 sf
Display (Showroom): 1,690 sf
Total Building: 3,560 sf
Office: 1,060 sq ft
Display (Showroom): 2,500 sf
The service and shop buildings will be shared by both Fisker and McLaren:
Vehicle Detail Building: 3,250 sf
Vehicle Repair Building: 4,000 sf
Civil Engineer – BKF
Structural Engineer – Louie International
Mechanical and Plumbing Engineer- Kinetics Mechanical Services, Inc.
Project Manager – Ralph Dorotinsky
Electrical Engineer- Red Top Electric
Project Engineer – Jason Melo
Landscape Architect – W. Jeffrey Heid
Construction cost: $3.9m
Key materials (type/brand): FSC certified wood, Aluminum, Polycarbonate, exposed steel frame.
Contractor: Plant Construction Company, L.P.
Software used: Revit, Microstation
Awards/certifications: City of Palo Alto equivalent to LEED Silver
Photographer credit: David Wakely