Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
McLaren Technology Centre
The McLaren Technology Centre is the headquarters of the McLaren Group, located on a 50 hectare site near Woking, United Kingdom. It is a large, roughly semi-circular, glass-walled building, designed by the architect Norman Foster and his company, Foster and Partners. About 1000 people work at the Technology Centre. It is home to the Team McLaren Formula One constructor and McLaren Cars, the makers of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, as well as other companies of the McLaren Group.
The building is accompanied by a series of artificial lakes: one formal lake directly opposite that completes the circle of the building, and a further four 'ecology' lakes. Together they contain about 50,000 m³ of water. This water is pumped through a series of heat exchangers to cool the building. The main working space of the building is split into 18 metre wide sections known as 'fingers' that are separated by six metre wide corridors known as 'streets'. Facilities for employees include a 700-seat restaurant, a juice and coffee bar, a swimming pool and a fitness centre. An underground Visitor and Learning Centre is connected to the main building by a walkway.
A 145 metre long, rectangular-circuit shaped wind tunnel is located at the end of building. Team McLaren uses it for testing development aerodynamic parts, as well as testing aerodynamic set-ups. The tunnel contains 400 tonnes of steel and the air is propelled by a four metre wide fan that rotates at upto 600rpm.
The Technology Centre is intended to consolidate all aspects of the McLaren Group at one site, instead of the 18 separate sites they were at before. It is also said that Ron Dennis, chairman, CEO and part owner of the Group, hopes that the Technology Centre will attract top designers and engineers. Building work on the project, originally known as Paragon, started in 1999 and about 4000 construction workers were involved. McLaren employees started using the facility in May, 2003, although it wasn't until May, 2004 that it was officially opened by the Queen of the United Kingdom. McLaren has not disclosed the project's cost, but BBC News has suggested a figure of 300,000,000 pounds sterling.
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