MALMESBURY – The southern Cotswolds region of England is the home of vacuum cleaning and the Dyson brand, the technology company that also produces a range of products including hair dryers, hand dryers, and lighting products. The firm has recently completed a new set of buildings at its Wiltshire-based headquarters. The company invests GBP 5 million per week into research and development which prompted a requirement for additional space to accommodate thousands of engineers to do their work. Dyson has taken on the campus-style typology similar to many other technology giants and employed WilkinsonEyre, from London, to develop the site to the south and west of the existing company’s land where the architect designed the earlier Dyson buildings in 1996.
The original design included a factory and headquarters, with the recent additions introducing four more buildings: D9, the research and development building; The energy Centre; The Hangar, a sports facility; and The Lightening Café. They sit within the Dyson landscape to provide employees with an appealing environment to work. Dyson personnel won’t need to leave the site; they can eat and play sports in between creating the next innovation. Developing on the techno-centric naming of the buildings, the aesthetic is as clean as a Dyson vacuum cleaner. The materials of all the buildings consist of concrete, glass and steel – the materials of the modernist twentieth century agenda. As would be expected of a technology company, the new buildings have a range of mod-cons in green/eco-design: photo-voltaic panels on the roof; Dyson’s long-life low-energy LED lighting; and chilled beams supplying fresh air and cooling.
The Hangar is, as the name suggests, a big hangar space, its volume encapsulated by a sweeping arch-shape to house various sporting activities. The Lightening Café is a two-storey volume which hosts James Dyson’s English Electric Lightening Jet supported by wires from the ceiling. The research and development building is secretive from the exterior by employing reflective glazing to the full surround of the box; while when inside, light and landscape views are let in. This building form takes on the sectional quality of a saw-tooth factory. All of these technological references make you think that this company is trying to instil a mentality of relentless production – which is possibly true.
The spaces are sizable, sharp machines for producing innovation. With Dyson’s expansion plans of another 3000 engineers globally by 2021, the buildings better be well oiled to continue the innovations of the twenty-first century. Luckily, being a campus style, the workers have a rural landscape to ease their minds in between playing sports, drinking coffee and making new vacuum cleaners.