Engineering photo

America’s car culture spawned the drive-through restaurant, the drive-through pharmacy, drive-through banking, and such seemingly counterintuitive institutions as the drive-through liquor store and even the drive-through daiquiri stand. But China has the fastest-growing car culture in the world (it’s expected to grow 400 percent in the next decade), so perhaps it’s fitting that the Chinese are planning the first drive-through museum dedicated to cars.

3GATTI Architecture Studio based in Rome and Shanghai won a competition to design the museum, which will be built in Nanjing and modeled like a broad, angular origami sculpture. An external ramp will allow motorists to drive around the museum, surveying the interior exhibits as they wrap around the structure headed for the parking lot on top. Once they’re parked, an interior ramp will take them back through the exhibit spaces on foot.

The motorists climbing the exterior ramp themselves become exhibits for the pedestrians inside, parading present-day car culture past the windows even as patrons take in the historical exhibits within. It’s a pretty cool concept in light of its subject matter, though its distinct “ungreenness” stands in stark contrast to some of the more eco-friendly museum designs that are the rage these days. It’s also unclear whether you’ll be forced to navigate through a drive-through gift shop on the way out.

Check out 3GATTI’s site for more conceptual drawings of the museum.

Engineering photo

The View from the Exterior Ramp

[Dezeen via Fast Company]