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.