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Foster in Formula One driving seat for McLaren

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Foster and Partners has designed this £160 million, 60,000m2 technology centre in Woking for McLaren - one of the most ambitious private construction projects in Europe. The building - the size of Stansted Airport - had a strict 10m height limit and had to be accommodated within a 20,000m2 footprint on a Green Belt site.

The resulting low, semi-circular deep-plan building is sunk into the landscape, overlooking an artificial lake which completes the circle and forms part of the building's cooling system.

The complex houses design studios, laboratories, research and testing facilities (including a 160m-long wind tunnel), electronics development, machine shops and prototyping, and production facilities for Team McLaren Mercedes Formula One cars.Accommodation is divided into 12 parallel, 18m wide fingers, served by 6m-wide internal streets.An open space overlooking the lake houses a restaurant, juice and coffee bar, and a television wall for screening Grand Prix races. There is also a training pool and fitness centre, and a visitor and learning centre that will be open to the public.

Six key suppliers - Faram, AMEC, Grohe, Instron, Mapei, Pastrelli, Schüco and Targetti - worked with McLaren and Foster to develop bespoke products and technical solutions. Kier was the contractor, Arup was the structural engineer, Schmidt Reuter was the services engineer, Terence O'Rourke was the landscape architect and Davis Langdon & Everest was the quantity surveyor.

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