Terence O’Rourke’s Formula-1 flourish

Terence O’Rourke’s landscape around the new £160 million technology centre for McLaren racing cars includes a network of lakes, 160m-long waterfall and 100,000 new trees.

Terence O’Rourke’s landscape around the new £160 million technology centre for McLaren racing cars includes a network of lakes, 160m-long waterfall and 100,000 new trees. The building, as big as Stansted Airport and including a 145m-long wind tunnel, was finished recently on a 50-hectar greenbelt site in Woking. The centre was sunk into the landscape and shielded from view by mass tree planting. Meanwhile water in the main 50,000 cubic-metre lake cools the building. The landscape design was integral to the architecture. Both the building and the main lake are semicircular in shape and go together to form a circle in plan. The waterfall wraps around the far edge of the main lake and takes hot water from the giant radiators in the wind tunnel. This is cooled as the water cascades down a series of steps. Foster and Partners, which designed the building, said the technology centre would become a model for the workplace of the future. It is one of Europe’s most ambitious recent private building projects. Reed beds are used as natural filtration systems and all run-off water from the building and car park feeds into the lakes before flowing into the nearby River Bourne

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