ID:SR's refurbishment of Channel 4's headquarters
Saturday 15 Jun 2013


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ID:SR's refurbishment of Channel 4's iconic headquarters has succeeded in creating a socially vibrant, collaborative workplace for Channel 4 employees, in keeping with the culture of an organisation that resists the constraints of corporate culture. In addition to improving the working environment and future proofing the building infrastructure, the building's occupancy has been increased by over 50%, consolidating Channel 4 staff into the headquarters.

At the outset of the project, Channel 4's brief to ID:SR was to create a place to have ‘serious fun'. This was an unusual brief from an unusual organisation: Channel 4 is a publicly owned commercially funded public service broadcaster with a remit to be innovative, experimental and distinctive.

The refurbishment of the headquarters required a thoughtful, edgy, and above all vibrant and creative solution to both maximise the use of the building and to ensure that the brand, values and culture of Channel 4 are fully reflected in the working environment. The headquarters is an award-winning Richard Rogers building and so ID:SR's design also needed to be sympathetic to its original concept and aesthetic. Undertaken in 36 phases, it is no mean feat that the project has been delivered step-by-step during full occupation while maintaining business continuity.

A pod meeting room structure runs down the centre of each office floor, flanked by desking.. The square meeting room format can be reconfigured as single or double rooms and can also be subdivided. The ‘rooms' can be enclosed, semi-enclosed or fully open. This structure has created flexibility in the size of the meeting rooms and the type of collaboration spaces available to teams now and going forward. The pod meeting room structure was designed to sit below the existing ceilings - a significant benefit in terms of speed of construction, maintenance and future flexibility.

The ‘stack' meeting rooms are effectively a significant architectural element adjacent to the main entrance to the headquarters building. The four rooms were designed to reflect Channel 4's Values: Curious - Fearless - Cheeky - with Heart.

The lower ground ‘Basecamp' is a significant area of reclaimed space. Re-using empty technical space in a lower ground floor we installed a mezzanine floor, exposed existing load baring concrete beams and provided high level windows to create a new boardroom complex. The new boardroom complex is adjacent to a general meeting area and ‘non-bookable' booths, breaking down historic location-driven communication barriers. Basecamp feels informal and buzzy - not your average corporate meeting suite.

The lower ground cinema refresh allowed Channel 4 to assess the bar / ante room, known as ‘The Drum' - a dark space that over time had lost its impact. The existing perforated acoustic panels were backed with acoustic foam and colour changing LEDs. In front of this is a double-layered chain curtain, which rotates on a motorised track system to fully enclose the occupiers when an event is on.

ID:SR / Sheppard Robson

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