McLaren Technology Centre

Woking, UK
1998 - 2004

The McLaren Group is a collection of high-tech companies involved in the design and development of Formula One cars, high-performance road cars, electronic systems and composite materials. Since McLaren began competing in Formula One in 1966, it has established a global reputation as one of the most successful teams in the history of the sport.

The Technology Centre provides a headquarters for the group and is designed to reflect the company's design and engineering expertise. It includes design studios, laboratories and testing and production facilities for Formula One and high-performance sports cars. Viewed on plan, the building is roughly semi-circular the circle being completed by a lake, which forms an integral part of the building's cooling system. Shaded by a cantilevered roof, the lakeside facade is a continuous curved glass wall, developed in part using McLaren's own technological expertise. Internally, the building's circulation is organised around double-height linear 'streets' which articulate 'fingers' of flexible floor space; these house production and parts storage areas on the lower levels, with top-lit design studios, offices and meeting rooms above. Directly behind the facade is a broad 'boulevard' which leads to areas for hospitality and to the staff restaurant, both of which look out across the lake. Other social facilities include a swimming pool and a fitness centre.

The new Production Centre, which lies immediately to the south-west of the Technology Centre, has allowed McLaren Automotive to step up its production capability and to introduce a range of new road cars, heralded by the 600bhp MP4-12C. Although it provides 32,000-square-metres of accommodation, over two floors, the building is dug discreetly into the landscape to minimise its physical presence. It is connected to the Technology Centre by a subterranean walkway, lined with interactive exhibition spaces. A Visitor Centre with educational facilities is located in a separate building at the entrance to the complex. This two-storey structure is also buried underground. It houses an exhibition space and lecture theatre and is reached via a subterranean link that features a permanent display of McLaren's racing and road cars.

The main frame of the building contains over 5,000 tonnes of steelwork and is big enough to house nine Boeing 747 Jumbo jets. It provides 57,000 square metres of office space and will house the majority of the McLaren Group under one house.

Area: 63,000 m²