Sept.29 (McLaren) Last week we were pleased to announce plans for two new facilities – the McLaren GSK Centre for Applied Performance, which is a development of a hitherto undeveloped wing of our existing headquarters, and the McLaren Applied Technology Centre, which will be an entirely new building located on adjacent land. Although they have similar names, and both will share a remit as learning centres for our Partners as well as local schools and colleges, they will serve different aspects of the McLaren Group business.
Why here? Why now? Well, McLaren is growing, which is good news for the UK economy as a whole as well as for the local area, in which we are the largest employer. Like our executive chairman, Ron Dennis CBE, the McLaren Group and McLaren Automotive were born and bred around Woking, and it is a cornerstone of our Corporate and Social Responsibility policy that we continue to be a benefit to the local community – both in terms of the economy and in terms of the environment. Our plans will create hundreds of new jobs in the region, both on-site and indirectly through related manufacturing, suppliers and clients. Retail spending in the region should benefit, too.
As part of our recently announced strategic partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical corporations, the McLaren GSK Centre for Applied Performance will be a development of the existing McLaren Technology Centre (MTC), our state-of-the-art HQ designed by Foster + Partners. Scheduled to open in 2013, it will provide a learning hub in which employees of both organisations will be able to share knowledge and technology and collaborate on new ideas, fuelled by our mutual values of performance and innovation. The McLaren GSK Centre for Applied Performance will also be open to other McLaren Group partners and local education institutions, for whom it will provide a rich experience in the increasingly vital fields of science and engineering.
McLaren Applied Technologies is one of the fastest-growing parts of the McLaren Group, channelling our race-bred expertise in materials science, simulation and data processing into a diverse portfolio of new projects outside the realms of motorsport. It’s an exciting, creative and dynamic company, championing innovation and sophisticated design. For example, our core race-bred technologies are now reducing emissions and cutting delays at London Heathrow airport by optimising the flow of aircraft ground traffic (ie, taxi-ing), and our collaboration with the leading bicycle manufacturer Specialized helped Mark Cavendish take the coveted green jersey at this year’s Tour de France, and take outright victory spoils in the road race world championship in Copenhagen on Sunday.
To provide McLaren Applied Technologies with additional capacity for its future growth we plan to build the all-new McLaren Applied Technology Centre on newly acquired land alongside our existing campus. Although McLaren has a proven track record in integrating award-winning industrial architecture sympathetically within green belt and brown field land, we recognise that any new development requires an especially sensitive approach.
Working with the award-winning planning consultancy Terence O’Rourke, and liaising closely from the very beginning with organisations such as the Environment Agency, Natural England, the Energy Centre for Sustainable Communities (ECSC), and the county highway authority, we have arrived at a landscape-led master plan that incorporates ecology lakes and extensive areas of new tree planting. An outline planning application has been submitted to Woking Borough Council and an exhibition of the proposals will be held at the Lightbox in the town centre early in October, where we welcome feedback from the public.
In building the McLaren Technology Centre and McLaren Production Centre (MPC) we aimed not only to meet, but also to exceed existing standards. From the initial designs through to the construction process, we worked with our Partners and local stakeholders to deliver innovative solutions – from the freshwater lake that regulates the MTC’s cooling systems to the recyclable Qbiss steel cladding of the MPC. We focused tightly on the details – for instance, all 180,000 cubic meters of soil excavated during the construction of the MPC was retained on site and then re-used during landscaping, cutting out 25,000 lorry movements and negating the possibility of invasive plant species being introduced to the area. The result is a building large enough to accommodate three jumbo jets but which is barely visible to passing traffic.
In the coming decades, science and technology will be the key to the UK’s competitiveness on the global stage, which is why the 60,000-square-metre McLaren Applied Technology Centre will incorporate areas dedicated to education and training. Where better for the next generation of engineering talent to learn their trade than at the cutting edge of technology, where racing success is translated into business wins?
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