BBC Music Box
Location: London, United Kingdom
Client: British Broadcasting Corporation / Land Securities Trillium
Date: 2005 Competition 1st Prize
Budget: £25 million
FOA Partner in charge: Alejandro Zaera-Polo and Farshid Moussavi
Project Architect: Friedrich Ludewich
Design Team: Nerea Calvillo, Kelvin Chu, Ka Wing, Kazuhide Doi, Eduardo Fernandez-Moscoso, Laura Fernandez, Kensuke Kishikawa, Kenichi Matsuwaza, Jordi Pages i Ramon
Structure: Adams Kara Taylor, London
Acoustic: Sandy Brown Associates, London
Lighting: Speirs and Major Associates
Project Management: Davis Langdon & Everest, London
Theatre Consultant: Ducks Sceno, Vaulx-en-Velin
Service Engineer: Cameron Taylor Brady, London
Model: Andrew Ingram, London
This project was designed to house the BBC’s three orchestras and a large amount of additional office space on the new White City Campus. Our proposal was to engage the very essence of the BBC as a public Broadcasting Corporation by connecting the space of the studio visually with the space of the city through a glass membrane.
As the studios are mainly for rehearsals, the building’s transparent frontage allows the public to catch glimpses of performances from the street, as if invited backstage, and conversely to allow the musicians to perform within the space of the city. This fully ‘transparent’ mode is one of the many ways in which the studio and city would relate – a scenario whereby, when the blinds incorporated within the façade system are lifted, the building is transformed into a stage, the BBC presents itself in public as an open and transparent organization.
The studios and supporting spaces of the building are enveloped with a screening surface which is folded in loops to define spaces of varying scale. Analogous to music which is a sequence of events in time, its physical notation implies primarily a linear structure. The enclosing surface which is folded to determine the main spaces of the building also produces ‘screens’ designed to broadcast images or graphics which further ‘communicate’ the BBC to its context.
Both the screens, which act as a device for media transmission and the windows which expose the activities in the building to the passers-by, provide the BBC with opportunities to engage with the public through its Music Centre.