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The great building challenge



After talking to Gerhard Carlson, the man in charge, and his project manager Fredrik Nylén, you feel confident that the the building of the massive Volvo Pavilion is in safe hands.


Between these two and their small army of Swedish, Czech and Dutch technicians, the 34 shipping containers that create the Pavilion are all but unpacked and in place, ready for the Opening of the Race Village on Thursday.


The containers, part of the huge contingent that contain the infrastructure of the Race Village, took just over five weeks to travel from Abu Dhabi to Auckland. Gerhard and Fredrik agree that working in Auckland has been excellent so far with the Stopover operation well prepared.“So far everything has gone in front of the schedule so we’re happy,” says Carlson.


This was helped by the forward thinking visit to Abu Dhabi by Manager Team Logistics, Ben Williams, DHL and the New Zealand MAF team to complete the bio-security checks and advise on necessary requirements, for a more efficient entry to NZ.


Even the great weather bomb that hit New Zealand on Saturday hasn’t caused too many problems and the Pavilion is on course for completion within eight days.


Space can be a bit of a problem for the team. The double storey pavilion is 33.5 m long and 22.5 wide but to get it erected they need another six metres just to lay it out, not to mention the additional space required to fit all the containers and machinery. Parking can be at a premium – yes, worse than Auckland city!


A visit to the Volvo Pavilion is a mind-blowing experience. With between 80-100 screens in the Pavilion, there is something for everyone. During peak times, all this state-of-the-art technology uses 5-7,000 kw per hour.


The kebab-like screen tower – a custom built artwork in itself requiring 2 kms of cabling and with 42 screens - will keep you mesmerized. Some three days of computer programming are needed to make it all come together.


Just about everything inside is interactive - from the made-to-scale Volvo truck cab to the tabletop touch screen.


There are three cars to admire: a race car, a hybrid diesel/electricity car & a futuristic concept vehicle made of clay.


It takes at least half a day to get these vehicles inside the pavilion. The Swedish oak flooring is pristine and must be kept that way. The clay concept vehicle weighs 2.5 tons, has no steering, no engine and no brakes, so getting it inside the Pavilion is a challenging and delicate operation. It is airfreighted from Stopover to Stopover (gathering lucrative airpoints) whereas the Pavilion itself has an identical twin, shipped to alternate Stopovers to ensure everything is in place for the fleet arrival.


Visit the Volvo Pavilion in the Race Village. Open 9am to 9pm everyday during the Auckland Stopover.