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.
Built on a flood plain and constrained with onerous planning conditions, the McLaren Technology Centre is located on a 50Ha site and established a new innovative and contemporary built solution aligned to an innovative, entrepreneurial and highly focussed client team. The core team comprised Arlington Securities (Development Manager), Foster and Partners (Architect), Arup (Structural Engineer), Schmidt Reuter Partner (Services / Environmental Engineer) and Terence O’Rourke (Landscape Architect).
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 7m 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 18m wide; 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.
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 the complex is big enough to accommodate nine Boeing 747 jets. The building provides over 57,000 m2 of office space and houses the majority of the McLaren Group companies under the one roof.