Automobile Plant Design – KIA Motors – Design Thesis 2011

Architects cannot shake their fascination with industrial buildings. Icons of functionalism such as Fiat’s Lingotto factory in Turin, the work of engineer G. Matté Truco (1926), and Peter Behren’s AEG turbine factory in Berlin (1910), to name two relics of another era, still loom large in the imaginations of architects romanced by the buildings of manufacturing. But in our pre-industrial society, few factories manage to create inspired architecture from the exigencies of the assembly line of the automobile. An automobile, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor –Pocket Oxford Dictionary. Most definitions of the term specify that automobiles are designed to run primarily on roads, to have seating for one to eight people, to typically have four wheels, and to be constructed principally for the transport of people rather than goods. However, the term automobile is far from precise, because there are many types of vehicles that do similar tasks. The automotive industry designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and sells the world’s motor vehicles. In 2008, more than 70 million motor vehicles, including cars and commercial vehicles were produced worldwide from Germany to South korea. –World Motor Vehicle Production by Country: 2007–2008″. OICA.

a linear production sequence from body shop to assembly area.
a linear production sequence from body shop to assembly area.

The Korean automobile industry is currently the fifth largest in the world in terms of production volume and the sixth largest in terms of export volume. While its initial operations were merely the assembling of parts imported from Japan and the United States, Korea is today among the most advanced automobile-producing countries in the world. Annual domestic output exceeded one million units in 1988. In the 1990s, the industry manufactured numerous in-house models, demonstrating not only its capabilities in terms of design, performance, and technology, but also signaling its coming of age. History of Korean automobile began in August 1955, when Choi Mu-seong, a Korean auto mechanic, and three of his brothers, mounted an engine on a modified US Army Jeep to manufacture its first car. The Asia Motors Company was established in 1965, and the Hyundai Motor Company in 1968 with the technical cooperation of the Ford Motor Company. -Wikipedia (20ll)

Kia Motors is South Korea‘s second largest automobile manufacturer, having sold over 1.6 million cars in 2009. Sold (2009)

The word Kia derives from Korean words meaning “to arise to the world from Asia.” With its headquarters in Seoul, the company is partly owned by the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group. North American and European arms are operated by Kia Motors America and Kia Motors Europe respectively. Beginning in 2005 Kia identified design as its “core future growth engine” — leading to the 2006 hiring of Peter Schreyer as Chief Design Officer. Schreyer had previously worked at Audi (designing the Audi TT) and Volkswagen and had won the Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany. Schreyer has since been central to a complete restyling of Kia’s lineup, overseeing design activities at Kia’s design centers in Frankfurt, Los Angeles, Tokyo and the Namyang Design Center in Korea.

Zaha Hadid Architects - Central Building - BMW Plant
Zaha Hadid Architects – Central Building – BMW Plant

“In the past, the Kia cars were very neutral. When you saw one on the road, you didn’t really know if it was Korean or Japanese…I think it’s very important that you are able to recognize a Kia at first sight.” – Peter Schreyer (2006)

With the KIA concept vehicle, shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2007, Kia introduced a new corporate grille to create a recognizable ‘face’ for the brand. Known as the Tiger Nose, Shreyer indicated he wanted “a powerful visual signal, a seal and an identifier. The front of a car needs this recognition, this expression. A car needs a face and I think the new Kia face is strong and distinctive. “Visibility is vital and that face should immediately allow you to identify a Kia even from a distance. Peter Schreyer (2006)


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