McLaren Technology Centre
Courtesy of McLaren Automotive

McLaren Technology Centre

Foster + Partners as Architects

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 McLaren Technology Centre provides a headquarters for the majority of the groups staff. 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 buildings cooling system. The principal lakeside facade is a continuous curved glass wall, developed in part using McLarens own technology, and 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 a circulation boulevard leads to areas for hospitality and to the staff restaurant, both of which look out across the landscape.

A Visitor Centre is located in a separate building at the entrance to the complex. It houses educational facilities, a temporary exhibition space and presentation theatre and is linked to the main centre by a subterranean building. 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.

Compact doors matching the design of the building

Rolflex Netherlands BV as Industrial doors

Architects Foster + Partners were looking for a partner to provide industrial doors that matched the design of the building. The doors should blend in the innovative design of the building. 


This challenge is the reason why the Compact door was developed in the late nineties. Producing doors to fit and match all commercial buildings, no matter the style or size. In the specific McLaren case, we delivered a series of Compact doors, external as well as internal doors. 


Both the entrance doors and the internal doors were fitted with glass panels. Rails were powdercoated to match the interior of the building. 

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Iconic design in perfect harmony with nature

Firestone Building Products EMEA as Roofing

The futuristic and stunning look of the McLaren Technology Centre, built between 1999 and 2004, symbolizes the company’s design and engineering expertise, coupled with a sustainable approach to architecture.

The McLaren Technology Centre is the headquarters of the McLaren Group and its subsidiaries, located on a 500,000 m² (50-hectare) site near the city of Woking, in the United Kingdom. This iconic building gathers offices, design studios, labs and testing facilities for Formula One and high-performance sports cars. The building’s 57,000 m² of office space is home to approximately 1,000 employees. 

The building, designed by renowned British architect Sir Norman Foster and his company Foster + Partners, is an impressive, semi-circular glass-walled structure. Its continuous, curved glass façade overlooks an artificial lake which forms another semi-circular shape. Besides its obvious aesthetic appeal, the artificial lake fulfills an important function: it helps to cool the electronics and the wind tunnel and generates heat. Viewed from the sky, the building and the lake resemble the Chinese Yin-Yang symbol.


In line with their vision to deliver a sustainable, energy-efficient and inspiring workplace, with real benefits for the environment and well-being of the employees, Foster + Partners wanted to minimize the visual impact of the project on the local landscape. Therefore, they limited the height of the building so that it would not exceed the size of the surrounding trees. 

Inviting as much natural light as possible inside is a signature element of Sir Foster’s architectural style. In addition to the light streaming in through the curved steel and glass façade overlooking the lake, the roof design included several skylights above the office section of the building.


Why RubberGard EPDM?

Foster + Partners chose Firestone’s RubberGard EPDM roofing membrane to cover the 34,000 m² flat roof of the McLaren Technology Centre. The ability of EPDM to adapt to the building’s irregular, curved shapes, and its life expectancy of over 50 years were the main reasons behind this choice. In addition to being a self-cleaning roof, it allows to collect rainwater by means of a high-pressure siphonic drainage system. This water is then used to refill the artificial lake. As EPDM is an inert material which does not release toxic substances, the water is safe for the lake’s aquatic flora and fauna.

At the time of its opening in 2004, McLaren’s former chairman and CEO Ron Dennis said: “The Technology Centre is a model for the new technological optimism and a showcase of industrial architecture for the 21st century. Together with our partners, the McLaren Group has created a building that, as well as being forward-thinking in design and construction, provides an environment that will motivate and influence the people who work within it.”

The design of McLaren’s Technology Centre has earned several awards. The building received the “Building of the Year Award 2005” and was shortlisted for the 2005 Royal Institute of British Architects Stirling Prize.

Discover all about RubberGard EPDM.

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