When the globally renowned British automotive brand McLaren made the decision to move North American operations for its elite sports car division from New York to Texas, they turned to Dallas-based Merriman Anderson Architects (MAA) to conceptualize and design the 31,000-square-foot campus in Coppell. MAA masterminded the architecture and interiors for the showroom, training center, workshop, executive suite and administrative offices. It’s a marvel of a design for a building that represents an illustrious high-technology brand.
McLaren Automotive creates luxury, high-performance supercars. Each vehicle is assembled by hand at the McLaren Production Centre in Surrey, England, and retailed through over 100 retailers in 40 markets around the world.
The new campus, located at 1405 S. Belt Line Road in Coppell, Texas provides ample space in a suburban environment. The overall design concept is that the visitor is seeing the inner workings of a laboratory. A large section of the footprint is dedicated to dealer sales and technical training as well as executive and administrative offices. All areas enjoy a perspective of the inner workings of McLaren. Previously, McLaren warehoused its fleet of cars across the country, complicating their inventory maintenance issue. Now the entire fleet is housed in one place which enhances their flow of engineering and diagnostics under one roof.
The supercar showroom is designed as two separate spaces that can join and divide for flexible function capacity. The “Meet and Greet” area is an entertainment type space for hosting small events and features a high-speed movie screen projecting images and videos. This area is used to showcase samples and assist clients in custom designing their vehicle. Furnishings are contemporary style, flexible and multi-purpose. An art gallery features McLaren Automotive and racing memorabilia, images, souvenirs and awards. This area doubles as an event space and can accommodate two vehicles.
The “Presentation Room” is located behind the movie screen and features a recessed screen which rises to reveal a featured vehicle. MAA implemented a customized 12-foot by 8-foot screen that was customized by a manufacturer in Italy, and then motorized it to rise and fall at ultra-fast speed. Dramatic lighting was designed into the alcove to showcase the special vehicles. This area will be used for “sneak peeks” whereby unreleased models can be revealed to dealers, focus groups and media before announcing to the public.
The McLaren Special Operations area is utilized for customizing cars for specific individuals. This area brings the customer, McLaren designers and engineers together to brainstorm unique specifications.
The “Workshop” is utilized for maintenance and is also a training facility for the highly specialized mechanics who work on these exceptional vehicles. There are two training bays, each with an auto lift and sophisticated audio/visual capabilities in addition to two dedicated classrooms. The classrooms are functionally flexible and an infinity cove was designed within a white workshop for vehicle photography purposes.
The project’s overall color and material palette includes a crisp combination in light and medium gray with anodized aluminum window mullions. Interior color and material palette of white, charcoal, pewter and light gray complement the glossy white resinous floors in the service and tech bays and the white oak wood accents in the interior spaces. The statement is contemporary and polished, with focus on the car models. A sleek wood grid ceiling system is an updated architectural response to an exposed roof system and houses the LED channel lighting. An enfilade of aluminum louvers makes a statement along the gallery walkway between the reception and Meet and Greet spaces. Furnishings throughout are contemporary minimalist.
The project challenges included renovation of an existing office/warehouse to complement the new construction of the showroom and display space. A significant amount of demolition was involved and the existing plumbing provided limited options for water delivery. MAA resolved constraints by re-appropriating space within the footprint.
The design team puzzled over the design of the overhead doors at the rear of the building which were originally built for 18-wheeler deliveries abutting to 4’ docks. New ramps were required at ground level for the sports cars and required a low clearance. MAA engineered the solution by introducing a steel vehicular ramp into the space and adding additional ramps within the space to even out the ground level.
MAA interfaced with McLaren’s London headquarters at every step of the design process with the goal of creating a consistent global brand image for McLaren Automotive.