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Aston Martin Design Studio

Aston Martin Design Studio

Structural Award Highly Commended 2008

Location: Gaydon, Warks
Building Owner: Aston Martin Lagonda LTD
Architect: Weedon Partnership
Builder/Main Contractor: Holzbau Saurer
Structural Engineers: Holzbau Saurer
Joinery Company: Holzbau Saurer
Wood Supplier: Holzbau Saurer
Wood Species Used: Oak (Switzerland); Spruce (Austria)

Aston Martin commissioned Weedon Partnership Architects and Austrian Contractor Holzbau Saurer to design and build their new Design Studio at Gaydon in Warwickshire. They were looking for a building which would:

Provide the best workplace conditions for automotive design;
Reflect Aston Martin’s core values by the quality of its architectural design, detailing and construction;
Demonstrate a high degree of environmental sustainability;
Achieve Occupation from initial thoughts in less than 12 months to avoid disruption to their strategic design programme.

Following the initial brief in January 2007, there came a six month design phase to develop the design, obtain planning permission and prepare fabrication drawings and schedules. This overlapped with a six month build phase in order to adhere to the client’s strict timetable for completion and occupation by the beginning of December.

In spite of this very tight programme, the project was delivered on time with uncompromised high levels of design, finish and customer satisfaction through highly integrated team working between the architect, client, designers and contractors and using exemplar standards in off-site fabrication.

Whilst the substructure and floor slab were under construction on site, all of the elements of structure, external and internal wall panels and stairs and doorsets were being manufactured using modern methods of construction under factory conditions. As an indication of the value of this parallel engineering approach, it took just 4 weeks to erect the structure, walls and roof and make the building watertight after completion of the foundation floor slabs etc.

The elegant modern Pavilion sits alongside Aston Martin’s award-winning Headquarters and Construction facility and is set in the gently undulating landscape of a country parkland. It houses
2700m2 of VIP Reception, Design Show Room and Support areas together with a Studio with a design capacity of five full-size clay models.

The Studio is double-storey height with mezzanine design areas with the north wall of the studio faced entirely in structural glass braced with glass fins. This maximises the feeling of transparency and gives access to its external Viewing Garden. The Viewing Garden acts as a reference for the scale of the models and the glazed north wall allows the designers to view and assess the sculptural forms of the models in even, natural light.

The building is largely made from wood or wood based products. The main structure comprises approximately 500m3 of laminated spruce.