We love the design of BBC North’s new offices at MediaCityUK in Salford. Although MediaCityUk was the unfortunate recipient of the 2011 ‘Carbuncle Cup’ for the ugliest building, the building’s fortunes have improved somewhat having recently been awarded ‘Greater Manchester Building of the Year.’ MediaCityUK is a purpose built development, home to the BBC and sections of Salford University and ITV.

Although opinions may differ about the outside of the building, most would agree that the inside is simply stunning. The eight buildings that make up the complex have been completely transformed into very impressive workspaces, designed to inspire creativity. The design brief set by the BBC ñ to ‘provoke smiles’ was enigmatic to say the least but the designers have risen to the challenge and the finished interior is incredibly vibrant and inspiring.

The move up north has been one of the biggest changes in the BBC’s 85 year history

The move up north has been one of the biggest changes in the BBC’s 85 year history and has involved staff relocating from London and in many cases moving to smaller offices than they had been previously used to. Reassuring staff represented quite a challenge but the designers overcame any concerns by working very closely with BBC staff to ensure their needs were met. Incorporating 37 different departments was never going to be easy and dividing up the existing space proved very tricky at times. Creating new rooms by installing floor-to-ceiling walls was out of the questions because of regulations covering sprinkler systems. The designers worked around this issue by creating open-plan areas incorporating small semi-enclosed meeting areas. Termed as ‘thought pods’, these areas have been upholstered in vibrant lime green and magenta and are proving very popular with BBC staff. We think they look great and this is something we’d be very keen to try in the future.
The long history of the BBC hasn’t been forgotten and is successfully represented with a large print of Alexandra Palace mounted in the atrium core in Quay House, while each building has a ‘history wall’ to trace the development of BBC since it made its first broadcast in 1922.

All-in-all we think this is a great example of how a long-standing and diverse organisation like the BBC can successfully re-locate to brand new premises and in the process get to grips with a modern office space, completely different to anything they’d had before.

Posted February 14, 2012

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