Icon and Vehicle

Icon and Vehicle

  • Text: Boris Schade-Bünsow, Marie Bruun Yde

The topic of the automobile soon leads toward wider social developments. The car as a cult object is charged with meaning. It means freedom, social status, and lifestyle, but also change. More than any other object, the automobile is an icon of modernity, and it shapes public space and the cultural landscape like no other manufactured product.

The Classic Car House in Copenhagen narrates the cultural history of the classic automobile, highlighting the profound design changes it has experienced since the 1990s. The museum’s new buildings, designed by Lundgaard & Tranberg, combine automobile iconography with the characteristic style of the Danish villa around the previous turn-of-the-century, both slightly exaggerated and translated into a vivid new architecture. With its focus on medical technology, the new European headquarters for Olympus, the work of gmp Architekten, contributes to shaping the changing urban district of Hammerbrook in Hamburg. And the urban planners and consultants of Gehl share insights into the collection and evaluation of information on user experience. The credo: When people are the focus of data collection, then planning, too, can position people at the center of concern.

Today, the automobile has lost much of its former aura as a status symbol, and is seen increasingly as a pragmatic and necessary mode of transport. New forms of use – for example sharing concepts – and more experiential modes of consumer behavior are transforming the automobile as a product. Now that the efficient use of public street space has become a top priority, parking plays a heightened role as well. The need to reconceive the automobile is accompanied by a need to rethink parking strategies.

Boris Schade-Bünsow, Marie Bruun Yde

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