Case Study: AB Dynamics
Designing a cutting-edge new headquarters for a global supplier of automotive testing equipment
We were invited to create a ground breaking, new state of the art engineering facility in Bradford-on-Avon for AB Dynamics, a leader in the automotive industry. Our collaborative work and attention to detail helped design a building that’s future proofed for years to come.
AB Dynamics are a world leader with forward thinking brand values. They design, develop, manufacture and supply advanced testing and measurement products for the automotive industry. Supplying vital equipment to all of the world’s top motor manufacturers, they enjoy a prominent position at the leading edge of British research and development.
The headline brief was deceptively simple: 3380 sqm of research, development and manufacturing space for an engineering company in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire.
Delving deeper, it became clear that the building needed to be so much more. Chairman and founder of AB Dynamics, Tony Best, went on to explain that the McLaren Technology Centre by Foster + Partners was what he had in mind. McLaren describe their building as ‘Glass and Steel. Flowing lines. Flawless engineering.’
AB Dynamics success is built on innovation and engineering excellence, so it was clear that they were going to need a building that suited their position in the industry, within the context of the historic market town of Bradford-on-Avon.
Such had been the success and growth of the company that initial plans drawn up in 2013 had quickly became inappropriate and insufficient. SRA Architects were appointed to look afresh at their requirements and bring a new design perspective.
Communication of AB Dynamics’ corporate identity was essential: progressive, dynamic, intelligent and highly technically advanced, the best environment for creative thinking and R&D.
The UK leads the way in high-tech innovation and enterprise, and companies like AB Dynamics will play a greater role in the future helping to make cleaner, safer and more reliable cars. The company are going through a period of significant growth, and we wanted to design a building commensurate with their position in the global corporate world. Their new headquarters had to fit well within its rural setting, with a focus on ‘bringing the outside in’ to enhance wellbeing and the feeling of open space within the office and workshop environments.
One of the main challenges was that we had to create a high-tech engineering facility, a corporate home, an enjoyable place to work, a conference facility and a dedicated on-brand research centre, all in one. We also had the challenge of creating a building that had inherent flexibility - a building that would stand the test of time as business needs shift and evolve.
We had the responsibility of conveying the client’s vision to the contractors, BAM, and the rest of the supply chain. Working collaboratively, the quality of work on-site had to be very high to ensure a truly ‘right first time’ project.
Listening to and challenging AB Dynamics throughout the process was vital to ensure we designed the right solutions. We wanted to design a building that was both practical and progressive – a cohesive form with clever architectural solutions that can flex with business needs. We also wanted to incorporate truly low impact environmental measures, with thoughtful design at the forefront allowing for a high degree of natural light and sense of space.
Refinement and Insight
As with all our projects, considerable refinement was key to getting the right result for the AB Dynamics project.
Materiality and Brand
For AB Dynamics, it was very important we designed a building that successfully communicated their brand. They represent UK high-tech, intelligent, precision engineering at its world class best, and they wanted a cutting-edge, striking headquarters to match.
We are proud to have built a building with stringent design excellence, a high level of technical rigour and aesthetic quality at its core. We listened to AB Dynamics’ request for a striking home, refined our approach and designed a building that fits the company’s growth and the industry’s growing confidence.
“'The new factory has given us additional new space and it's also a beautiful place to work in. We have a fabulous working environment for our employees and it's helping us to attract the staff we need to ensure that our business can grow.”
Mat Hubbard - COO, AB Dynamics in Directors Talk
We are delighted to say that due to AB Dynamics’ business growth and our working relationship, we have already been commissioned to design a second building for the company across the road.