BSkyB Believe In Better Building

Judges Special Award

BSkyB Believe In Better Building

Project Info

BSkyB’s new educational facility for graduates, apprentices and staff training, was designed to reflect the company’s sustainable aspirations.

Based at the Campus in West London, the 3,000m2 development encompasses a four storey linear building, accommodating a restaurant and roof terrace on the top floor. The educational facility is the first in a series of initiatives using the power of television, creativity and sport to help young people achieve their potential by gaining the skills and experience needed to help prepare them for the world of employment.

The structure was designed to deliver permanent quality, adaptability and long term energy efficiency. Speed of build was crucial, as the project had to be completed in time for BSkyB’s 25th anniversary celebration. The objective of the project was to construct a low energy structure within a short time period – making solid timber and timber cassettes the optimum rapid and sustainable solution, as it eliminates the requirement for wet trades onsite and therefore an accelerated programme of works was achievable. It was imperative however, not to compromise on the quality of design and materials as a result. By using offsite timber cassettes, the building could be wrapped considerably faster than projects using traditional construction methods of this size without a reduction in of the external envelope.

The solid timber frame was able to deliver the natural environment that BSkyB required to visually represent the company’s environmental ethos – the timber cassettes delivered the low thermal resistance and high airtightness that the structure demanded to meet the challenging design brief.

The system took the form of a glulam frame with visible grade cross laminated timber panels providing core stability to the walls and floors – left largely exposed within the finished structure. The timber cassettes were used to erect the walls, ranging from 0.7m – 2.5m in width to 1.5m – 12.5m in length to accommodate the window arrangement. The connections used were galvanized steel bracketry, with connection timber plugs and covers – boarded to provide fire protection to the connections.

BIM technology and CNC machines were used to ensure the structures were manufactured to the meet exacting tolerance required for the connections of the 28m high structure. BIM technology guaranteed that the interface between components was precise ensuring that the structure was erected accurately as determined in the designed.

B & K Structures based themselves alongside the design team in order to make ‘real time’ decisions to avoid delays to meet the stringent deadline.

Through the application of natural wood – visitors to the building are provided with an insight into Sky’s culture and sustainable beliefs. The design creates a flexible workspace for a fast-changing corporate culture and provides aesthetically appealing environment. The project exceeded Sky’s sustainability aspirations who were so impressed that they appointed the same construction partners for the next two buildings in the project pipeline.

Further Sustainability Information:

Embodied carbon calculations were done to compare timber structure against hybrid steel with CLT and also traditional concrete or steel approaches. Using in-house calculation software, Arup Associates were able to demonstrate bettering Sky’s target for 15% reduction in embodied carbon, and significantly beyond zero embodied carbon, due to 1200T of carbon sequestered in the structure.

The fabric-first, low energy, mixed-mode servicing strategy with LED lighting means that the sequestered carbon will offset 13 years of regulated operational carbon. Rooftop photovoltaic (PV) cells, efficient systems and connection to Sky’s Biomass Combined Cooling, Heat and Power (CCHP) network enable a 40% operational carbon reduction. The carbon saving from using timber spread over a 60 year design life would give a further 35% saving, suggesting that truly zero carbon commercial buildings are viable.

The building achieves BREEAM Excellent rating.

All Timber is PEFC certified, from sustainably stewarded forests adjacent to the factories in Austria. Panel sizes were optimised for transport efficiency. Timber components all manufactured with zero waste on site, all waste materials in production went to Bio-mass and then energy produced heated the facilities in Austria.

Concrete mixes used 40% PFA cement replacement and stent aggregate to reduce concrete CO2e by 30%. The light timber structure reduces foundation loads by 13%.


ArchitectArup Associates

Structural EngineerArup Associates, engenuiti

Wood SupplierBinderholz GmBH


SpeciesAustrian Spruce, Birch from Sweden and Finland, British Oak


JoineryTaylor Made Joinery Interiors Limited

Structural FrameB & K Structures

GlulamRubner Holzbau GmbH

  • Date January 1, 2015
  • Tags 2015