BBC Scotland headquarters

Longitudinal section

Located alongside Glasgow’s former docks, the BBC Scotland building sits on an exposed plot of land adjacent to the River Clyde. Faced with this open landscape, the building needed to assert its own sense of place and satisfy the brief of the BBC for a contained yet publicly accessible building.

BBC Scotland headquarters

Located alongside Glasgow’s former docks, the BBC Scotland building sits on an exposed plot of land adjacent to the River Clyde. Faced with this open landscape, the building needed to assert its own sense of place and satisfy the brief of the BBC for a contained yet publicly accessible building.

Encompassing a broad remit including television, radio, internet, production facilities, digital studios, technical support and office space, the design encourages creative interaction between its many occupants by connecting all the workspaces. This is achieved by means of a central atrium configured as a tiered sequence of steps, platforms and terraces, crafted from local red sandstone. Circulation and communication through the building and between office floors is facilitated by this promenade, which not only offers informal meeting areas but also encourages movement between areas, giving visual representation to the public aspect of the building.

The most immediate problem posed by the project brief lay in the compositional relationship between technical elements such as studios, which had to be hermetically enclosed, and office space, which had to be transparent to enjoy the surrounding views. However, combining large television studios with relatively small office spaces created the opportunity to stack studios in a gradual succession of increasing height in the centre of the building and leave the office spaces on either side. The roofs of the studios became the basis of a terraced landscape. This solution enhanced the importance of the public and social space, which became an integral part of the daily workings of the institution.

The intention throughout was to integrate each of the building’s elements, avoiding a hierarchical set-up. The double-skin glass façade allows for natural ventilation while also maximising natural light and views over the river.

Date:
2001-2007
Gross floor area:
30,000 m²
Client:
BBC Scotland
Architect:
David Chipperfield Architects, London
Directors:
Victoria Jessen-Pike, Paul Crosby, Oliver Ulmer
Project architect:
Martin Ebert, Takayuki Nakajima
Structural engineer:
Jane Wernick Associates, Faber Maunsell
Services engineer:
Arup
Acoustic engineer:
Arup
Photography:
Christian Richters, Peter Cook, Michael Boyd, Ute Zscharnt