RIBA Award for BBC building

Samy Mansour
Monday 09 Jun 2008

David Chipperfield Architects, Stirling Prize winner of 2007, receive a RIBA Award for BBC Scotland at Pacific Quay

The new state of the art BBC headquarters building encompasses all aspects of television, radio, and internet, accommodating production facilities, digital studios, technical support, and office space. The design seeks to encourage creative interaction between the 1000 occupants by connecting all the workspaces with a central rising atrium that acts as a place for meeting, working and circulating.

The building is located alongside the abandoned Govan docks on an exposed plot of land dominated by the expanse of the river Clyde and the mountains of the Scottish Highlands. Faced with this open landscape, the building had to find ways to establish its own sense of place and satisfy the demands of the BBC for a contained yet publicly accessible building.

The building is distinct from conventional offices; more industrial, loft-like in feel, it gives equal importance to collective work areas, individual workstations, and public spaces. Accordingly, the central atrium is configured as a tiered sequence of steps, platforms, and terraces. Circulation and communication through the building and between office floors is promoted by this giant staircase, which not only offers informal meeting areas, but encourages movement between spaces, giving powerful visual representation to the public aspect of the building.

The jury panel highlighted the successful characteristics of the winning building:

“Central to the design is the placement of a sequence of large studio spaces in the centre of the building, stepping up in scale towards the back. The negative space above has been utilised as a massive central atrium. The elegant sculptural block is full of activity and holds everything together. By hiding the set of studios beneath it the architects have resolved a major element of the brief into a piece of architecture and created a central space to house the cultural life of the building.

"The question of how to make something that is purely functional into something socially and sculpturally successful has here been addressed with great skill. The architecture has seamlessly resolved technical, production, office-based and social functions within a singularly awe-inspiring volume”..

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