1998 Volkswagen’s Chairman Ferdinand K. Piëch, Decided to revive the Bugatti brand and acquired the name rights to the brand and soon after started the “Molsheim Project” with Henn Architectural Office and bought three buildings from Messier-Bugatti Group which also had a production facility, The Château St. Jean, Ettore Bugatti’s former representative office for customers, was in bad condition. “The new company headquarters was to reflect the history of the company, which is why the historic Bugatti location in Molsheim was chosen,” remembers architect Gunter Henn.
In order to announce its future plans Bugatti invited enthusiasts and responsible people from the region to celebrate on the land about 1000 guests came and around 200 Historic Bugatti’s were parked outside.
After the restoration of the site began it was not clear that the future cars would be built there but in 2001 with the announcement of its new prototype Bugatti also announced its new production facility in Molsheim – the Atelier.
The Molsheim has been home for Bugatti since 1909, Ettore Bugatti designed and built his exceptional cars, with interruptions, until his death in 1947. In 1928, Ettore Bugatti purchased the Château St. Jean with its six-hectare park. The mansion was built in 1857 by the Wangen de Geroldseck family on the site of a former Commandry of the Order of St. John from Jerusalem dating back to the 13 century. Two Remises from 1788 und 1853 supplement the idyllic park; the oldest building structure is the entrance gate from the early 15 century. Under Ettore Bugatti, the building served as a backdrop for his luxury cars and as a reception for customers. After Ettore Bugatti’s Death in 1947 his son resumed operations but the company went bankrupt in 1956.
The two-storey Château St. Jean with the high mansard roof was gutted and the interior restructured. As a result, the building with six smaller apartments was transformed into a spacious villa. The seven-axis façade structure with elevated median avant-corps makes the 22-metre long Château appear longer. In the lower area, a continuous room with two concave lateral elements opens into two sides, while there are staircases behind the wall structures. The middle floor lies on a central oval that is not completely joined to the exterior walls and thus appears to float, seeming to catapult everything into a new era.
The North and South Remises, two former stables, were also rebuilt within a year subject to strict monument protection requirements. They previously served as a shelter for pilgrims of the Order of Malta on their way to Santiago de Compostela. The buildings were measured telemetrically, demolished and then rebuilt true to their original design using many parts such as masonry and wood elements. The 41-metre long North Remise today accommodates a small exhibition of historic vehicles and offices. The 33-metre long South Remise now offers a customer lounge in which customers can configure their vehicles, a fireplace room and a library. “In spite of their very special aesthetic characteristics, all buildings meet their purpose and are functionally designed. They are not just pure works of art, even if they give that appearance,” say the architects.
The Atelier is a modern and aesthetically pleasing building which contrasted the Historical building according to Henn; Atelier is the production house of Bugatti in Molsheim, home of Bugatti. The atelier is the place where the company was resurrected and this is where Veyron 16.4 was made there after came Chiron and now then the Divo.
The Atelier was made in honour of Ettore Bugatti and was officially opened around his birthday (15 September 1881) on 3rd September 2005 and Bugatti is celebrated its 15th anniversary of the Atelier.
This tells us that how much deep routed Bugatti is still to its History of car making and their passion of car making, Bugatti is a heritage rich company and Kudos to Volkswagen that has still managed to keep that history intact.
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