Petronas: Gearing up for Success

by Sharon

A new $60m Global Research and Technology Centre for Petronas has been officially launched by Formula 1 duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

The Mercedes duo took centre stage at the event to open the new 17,000m2 facility where the Malaysian oil corporation will develop lubricants for both the domestic car and motor racing.

The development was designed by Broadway Malyan’s Reading studio and delivered in partnership with Milan-based 967 Architects and F&M Engineering.

Broadway Malyan director David Anderson, who led the design project, said: “It is fitting that this new project was launched on the eve of the new F1 season and for the current world champion to officially open the facility gives some idea of the importance of this new R&D centre to Petronas.”

Our brief was to create a new facility that reflected both the natural setting and the industrial heritage of the place whilst delivering a forward looking workplace in which Petronas’ highly qualified technical and management staff could enjoy best in class facilities.

Lewis Hamilton at the Petronas R&D launch event

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, at the launch event

The site occupies a linear edge of town plot between industrial buildings on either side with agricultural land set in narrow strips to the south east, the city of Turin to the north west and looming behind that, the dramatic backdrop of the Alps.

The design of the building responds to this context, celebrating its role at the nexus of this juxtaposition in its angular silhouette, its subtle surface cladding tones and its sharp, precise detailing and engineered materiality.

Most importantly however, the new Petronas R&D facility offers a dynamic future workplace environment with collaboration at its heart.

The design embraces a range of connected functional spaces including offices, learning and conferencing facilities, welfare facilities, laboratories, visitor and customer experience and engineering workshops – all collectively showcasing the breadth of Petronas’ technical expertise.

The multi-layered functional brief for Petronas Global R&D Centre demanded an innovative approach to the design of the workplace environment. 

The arrival experience is secure yet inviting, welcoming and impressive with a glazed two-storey atrium providing a technology showcase and exhibition space. This is the first touch point for Petronas activities worldwide and Lewis Hamilton’s 2016 F1 car dramatically and beautifully conveys a global message of cutting edge precision, performance and achievement. 

From this space there is direct access to the conferencing and learning spaces and an upper gallery offering dramatic internal and external views. From here a further level of security access separates the office floors at levels two and three which combine open plan desk space with glass walled offices and meeting rooms, promoting visual contact within the space and eroding traditional hierarchies in favour of a collaborative open team environment.

Petronas R&D – Turin, Italy

The restaurant at level one with an external terrace sits between this office meeting and conferencing environment with the more secure research and test spaces further along the floor including laboratories, engine test cells, workshops, rolling roads and large component test stations. 

The layout permits visitors to see from an upper gallery into the ‘technical street’ between the sixteen engine test cells whilst enabling strict adherence to probity requirements between competing manufacturers. This technical street is the ‘clean’ side incorporating desk-based controls and monitoring screens etc whilst the engines and vehicle components are brought in and removed via two parallel streets on the opposite side of the linear test cells.

The end result is a state-of-the-art facility that will allow Petronas to continue to innovate and serve the technical requirements of its global client base which is also an architectural landmark worthy of Turin’s rich automotive heritage.  

David Anderson, Director, Broadway Malyan. 

Watch Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at the launch event below:



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