If McLaren's headquarters looks familiar, that'll be because its shape, appearance, and function echo those of supervillain lairs from the movies. Austere, pristinely clean surfaces are matched by an intricate temperature control system that keeps the whole place to within one degree of 22 Celsius. The other thing you don't notice, but realize as soon as you're informed, is that McLaren's Technology Centre is also completely odorless. Designed by the famed Foster + Partners architect firm and opened by the Queen on May 12th, 2004, this is the place where McLaren designs, builds, and markets its cars. And make no mistake about it, this facility was constructed with the intent of standing as a permanent ambassador for the McLaren brand and the image of engineering leadership that the company tries to project.
The centerpiece of the sprawling, kidney-shaped building is McLaren's heritage boulevard: a wide open, naturally lit area populated by some of the racing team's most iconic cars. You'll find the original Bruce McLaren car, complete with leather straps holding down the hood and little markers on the speedometer to indicate the ideal cornering speeds. There's also Ayrton Senna's MP4/4, preserved and maintained in full working order. In fact, every car on that boulevard is ready to drive off. Stood alongside the last three Formula 1 cars is also the Specialized Venge bike, a joint development in which McLaren brought its carbon fiber and aerodynamics expertise to a new mode of racing.
McLaren employees are reminded of the company's glorious history in another way. The route to their cafeteria is lined by two walls of glass cases overloaded with trophies and accolades. This is the biggest collection of motorsport prizes in the world, primarily because McLaren keeps its drivers' trophies as well as its constructors' championships.
To get an even better sense of what it's like within the steel and glass structure that McLaren calls home, check out the Google Street View tour of the facility.
Hint: Use the 's' and 'd' keys to navigate