BBC Media City

Bespoke glass partitions in BBC Media City

We are tremendously proud of our work designing and installing our partitions in BBC HQ, Portland Place, London. Therefore, we jumped at the chance to fit-out the equally prestigious Media City in Salford Keys.

Much of this fit-out was installing bespoke glass partitions which had to be precisely engineered due to the high acoustic requirements of the studio areas. However, we were able to devise flexible solutions that met and exceeded the acoustic brief.

The space

This project spanned the 36-acre BBC office building which totaled 44,000m² of internal floor space. The project was part of the BBC’s plan to reduce costs by undergoing a large-scale decentralisation. Firstly, this included relocating 5 London-based departments to Salford: the UK’s first purpose-built scheme.

The design

The project began upon winning the bid to install acoustic partitioning systems throughout the BBC Media City. As a result, we worked closely with Chapman Taylor LLP and Lend Lease to bring exciting concepts to life.

Furthermore, a collaborative effort saw the transformation of the space into the buzzing Media City you see today. Chapman Taylor envisaged the creation of an upmarket, contemporary and innovative hub to rival other international many media cities.

Furthermore, from concept to completion this project was installing largely bespoke glass partitions and doors. Demanding unprecedented levels of acoustic performance that were in excess of Rw60dB – with the highest value required being Rw73dB – this was one project where accuracy was at the heart of design.

We were able to use our experience gained during the BBC Portland Place project to demonstrate our technical and acoustic expertise. At the BBC Media City, there are numerous different glazed screen types, each with a different acoustic requirement according to where they were placed in relation to the recording studios.

The project

Furthemore, during the project we installed glazed partitioning to the editing suites, glazed windows between the editing suites and anti-reflective glazing to the broadcasting studios. We also installed glazed partitions in the general office areas.

Before designing and installing any of these bespoke glass partitions, we acoustically tested every single screen type in a sound laboratory at Manchester University. From there, we were able to generate our own acoustic specification. Our test results often exceeded the ratings that had been specified by Sandy Brown Associates, the acoustic consultants on the project. Bespoke double glazed partitions were designed with split frames and a perforated tray within the cavity to further enhance the acoustic performance beyond the original rating.

In addition to these prestigious new offices, production facilities and studios for the BBC, the scheme saw the development of a separate studio complex. This followed the development of the apartments, a hotel, a multi-storey car park, speculative office buildings and a new media department for the University of Salford. An energy centre and retail and catering facilities have all been installed in the area. The scheme has created a real epicentre of activity, inspiration, and excitement.

The result

Surrounded by water, this digital hub has completely transformed the Salford Quays skyline both from an aesthetic perspective and from a more fiscal point of view. The end result is a modern and cutting edge facility that is changing the face of communication.

This construction has also become the first development in the world to obtain BREEAM Sustainable Community status, which is certainly something that we are delighted to have been involved with.

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