Benedetti Architects has refurbished and extended the BAFTA building to create a world-class headquarters
RIBA West London Regional Award 2023
British Academy Of Film & Television Arts Headquarters, St James’s
Benedetti Architects for BAFTA
Contract value: £24.3 million
Cost per m2: £9,872
Benedetti Architects’ comprehensive refurbishment and extension of the BAFTA headquarters is as ambitious as it is well executed. The team has taken a tired building in London’s Piccadilly, and created a world-class headquarters befitting its client.
This is a building that works hard for its users. It has very quickly been embraced by BAFTA and its members and has come to represent the full spectrum of the British film, television, and games industry, from established stars to new students who hope to become the next generation of industry creatives.
By cleverly retaining and lifting the roof structure by a modest amount, Benedetti Architects was able to unobtrusively gain an entire floor plate within a Grade II-listed structure. This simple move freed up the space below to enable the insertion of two world-class cinemas, an events space, a youth gallery, and training facilities, while also opening up a top-lit double-height space to bring daylight deep into the building. This additionally opened up the rear of the building to capture splendid views across the Piccadilly skyline.
The newly created spaces below flow seamlessly from one to another. Sliding walls enable rooms to be enlarged or minimised depending on the activity. Corridors are conspicuous by their absence. The result is a flexible, accessible, equitable movement through the building that emphasises and focuses on the people and activities that inhabit it rather than on the building or institute itself.
As one might expect of BAFTA, the building has a dazzlingly sophisticated array of audiovisual technology. Surprisingly though, very little of this is on display. The technology is deftly hidden away within the fabric of the building, allowing the spaces and institute to focus once again on the activities and enjoyment of their members.
The jury were particularly impressed by the care and attention to detail that was worked into the build at all scales, from the big moves like lifting the roof, where the metal structure had been lovingly repaired, all the way down to simple joinery details. Each detail was lovingly crafted and joyfully executed. Most importantly, this is a building that has secured its own future by becoming economically sustainable due to its flexible and adaptable design.
Client British Academy of Film & Television Arts
Contractor Knight Harwood
Structural engineer Price & Myers
Environmental/M&E engineer Harley Haddow
Client project manager Equals Consulting
Planning consultant DP9
Lighting design LAPD
AV consultant Charcoalblue
Acoustic engineer Sandy Brown
Heritage consultant Alan Baxter Heritage
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