National Automotive Innovation Centre


Location – Coventry

Architect – Cullinan Studio

Client – University of Warwick

Structural engineer – ARUP

Main contractor – Balfour Beatty

Joinery – B&K Structures

Quantity surveyor, cost consultant & project manager – Rider Levitt Bucknall

Timber engineer – engenuiti

Wood supplier – Rubner Holzbau Gmbh, Ober-Grafendorf, Binderholz GmbH

Species – CLT, spruce glulam (European)

Client Partners – WMG at the University of Warwick, Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Motors UK

The National Automotive Innovation Centre is the largest research and development centre of its kind in Europe. It can hold 1,000 staff and students working across design, engineering and research. Timber was chosen for its warm, natural feel within the industrial setting and its wellness and low carbon properties. The walls were assembled using a pioneering system of prefabricated, self-spanning timber and CLT mega-panels that could be erected quickly. As one of the largest timber roofs in the world, the glulam CLT lattice structure unifies the many activities housed beneath a single umbrella. Primary and secondary joists are arranged on a diagrid, spanning onto supporting beams on a 15m grid. Each bay is slightly pitched above to create a nominal fall for the roof, tapered internally within each bay. The undulating soffit profile draws users through the space.