Boston Volvo Cars is an adaptive reuse project that challenges the future typology of car dealerships, transforming a historic 1926 International Harvester Farm Equipment building into a vertical car dealership providing both workplace and showroom. This unique project mixes a flagship Volvo Dealership with retail and R&D tenants.The new Volvo showroom highlights Volvo’s leadership in technology and consolidates operations, reducing the impact on the neighborhood from a four-acre parking lot to three floors of the five-story building.

The building owner understood the potential evolution of the automotive business, with changes in mobility currently shaping the way people get around the city. Throughout the design process the team challenged how a car dealership would operate in the future as our urban mobility patterns continue to evolve into one that is based on shared modes of transportation, augmented retail experiences, and personalization of services, with the potential of cars driving themselves to the dealership to be serviced. All of these unknowns were discussed during the design process and the adaptive reuse was designed to restore the “bones of the building” with a flexible series of interior spaces that could continue to be repurposed in the future.

The interior design brought this building back to its original industrial-style luster, uncovering and restoring the original grand staircase to create a connection to the past. The interior design programming re-imagined the traditional customer experiences of buying, browsing, and bringing in vehicles for service. Minimally designed interior details reinterpret Volvo’s brand standards. The spaces are characterized by open workspace, contemporary materials with a Scandinavian museum quality. A contemporary lit wood portal draws customers into the showroom, allowing them to experience the space and relax in the modern café. Volvo’s standard finishes of light oak veneer were translated into deep window wood seat boxes that highlight the reconstructed “historic” windows and a strong interior-exterior connection.

Architectural Plans / Process