The TAG 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’s 850 staff 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 road cars, including the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.
Viewed on plan, the building is roughly semi-circular, the circle being completed by a formal lake, which forms an integral part of the building’s environmental cooling system. The principal lakeside facade is a continuous curved glass wall, developed in part using McLaren’s own technological expertise, which is shaded by a cantilevered roof. Internally, the building is organised around double-height linear ‘streets’, which form circulation routes and articulate ‘fingers’ of flexible accommodation. These house production and storage areas on the lower levels, with top-lit design studios, offices and meeting rooms above. Directly behind the facade is a circulation ‘boulevard’ which leads to areas for hospitality and to the staff restaurant, both of which look out across the landscape. 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 buried underground − like the rest of the Technology Centre it is designed to make a minimal intervention in the landscape − and is visible only by its circular rooflight. It houses a temporary exhibition space and lecture theatre and is linked to the main centre by a subterranean building with a permanent display of McLaren’s historical racing and road cars.Location: Woking, England Architect: Foster + Partners
Client: McLaren Group
Consultants: Arup, Davis Langdon, Schmidt Reuter Partner, Terence O’Rourke, Claude R Engle Lighting, AMEC, Arlington Securities, Atelier Dreiseitl, Intec Management, WSP