AMO, the think tank of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), co-founded by Rem Koolhaas and led by Samir Bantal, has announced a recent research collaboration with Volkswagen. Focused on rural areas and the countryside, the partnership will look into the future of rural mobility, through a first conceptual study on electric tractors.
Volkswagen’s interest in the countryside has triggered a new research collaboration that will spawn several projects through cross-pollinations between architecture, which is traditionally about stability, and Volkswagens expertise on mobility. We are excited to dive deeper into the issues of rural mobility together with Volkswagen’s experts. -- Samir Bantal, Director of AMO
Initiated by Volkswagen’s cultural engagement team and AMO, the collaboration’s first project is “a study for an electric tractor, developed in and for sub-Saharan Africa to facilitate small-scale agriculture and increase the productivity of subsistence farmers”. Created by Peter Wouda, Design Director of Volkswagen’s Innovation Center Europe, and Volkswagen engineer Holger Lange, the conceptual project is on display at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York as part of the “Countryside, The Future” exhibition by AMO/Rem Koolhaas.
Planning to develop this tractor, the next step will consist in setting up of “partnerships with many local collaborators, universities and stakeholders to gain knowledge on technical aspects of the sharing system and its implementation in local contexts”.
The e-tractor project is a great example of how we can link creativity and technology. And it shows what it needs when we understand mobility is a social right. Volkswagen is committed to develop sustainable mobility concepts for generations to come and for establishing new levels of equality. Responding to the radical changes in the countryside is one vital step on that way. -- Benita von Maltzahn, Director of Cultural Engagement for VW
Moreover, shown as part of the Rural Mobility Symposium in 2020 in Dresden, Germany, a joint research on Eastern Saxony will highlight how different mobility concepts can help face the region’s challenges of a rapidly aging population and an overall decrease in population numbers.
Normally as designers, we focus more on brand identity, proportion, and aesthetics, but the e-tractor project was about designing a meaningful and holistic system, which if done right, has the potential to bring people together and support a community. The beauty of the design will be in its simplicity and in the joy of using it. -- Peter Wouda, Design Director of VW Innovation Center Europe