Projects

GM Reduced-Scale Wind Tunnel

Warren, Michigan

    Client

  • General Motors

    Project Size

  • 35,000 SF

UNDERSTANDING THE CHALLENGE

Leading automaker General Motors is committed to investing in technologies that support a more energy-efficient future. To that end, they decided to construct a reduced-scale wind tunnel testing facility at their Technical Center in Warren that would enable them to accelerate and verify fuel-saving designs earlier in the development cycle of new cars and trucks. 

As the design arm of a design-build team, we worked closely with GM and the contractor to develop a highly functional testing facility that would position the automaker to reach industry-leading levels of aerodynamic refinement.

TAILORING THE SOLUTION

We provided full architecture and engineering services for the 35,000 SF facility positioned next to GM’s full-scale wind tunnel. The new test facility houses a reduced-scale open loop wind tunnel that tests clay models up to 40% of the scale of a vehicle and is powered by an 1,100-horsepower fan capable of both high and low velocity wind speeds. The facility also includes a moving ground plane turntable suitable for cross-angular wind testing. The test area utilizes a probe traverse to allow for automated model changeover.

Our design also provides for a new 4,500 SF support office, vehicle preparation areas, lab, and support space. The program also includes an underground tunnel to conceal the transfer of models between secure areas.

SUPPORTING WHAT MATTERS

We designed the reduced-scale wind tunnel to adhere to the GM Technical Center’s strict standards derived from the complex’s original design vernacular. Thanks to a collaborative effort with GM and the project contractor, we delivered a state-of-the-art testing facility that establishes a new industry standard in aerodynamic refinement, advancing GM’s ongoing dedication to energy efficiency.