Sky Central

Sky plc has launched Sky Central, a new flagship building at the heart of its 13 hectare media campus headquarters in Osterley, West London.

Over 3,500 employees are housed in the building, which has been designed to promote flexibility, openness, ease of access and communication to encourage the flow of people and ideas across the business.

Bringing together the corporate and creative sides of the business under a single roof, Sky Central puts entertainment, live production and the development of new ideas through collaboration at the heart of the Sky experience.

In 2011, Sky asked AL_A to create a Strategic Campus Vision and masterplan for the entire headquarters alongside the broadcaster as it set out to transform the experience of working at Sky. The Vision reflects the workings of the organisation with a campus connected by the assets that drive the business forward: creativity and people. Embodying the principles of the Vision, AL_A worked on the concept and developed design to stage D for Sky Central, the largest single building on the site, winning planning consent for the project in 2013.

Sky Central is a vast low-rise and wide-span building, formed around large naturally-lit overlapping voids within deep floorplates that create high levels of visual connectivity. These open and flexible spaces are designed in clusters of neighbourhoods to accommodate a new type of creative industry, where the traditional distinctions between creative, technical, production and corporate have been broken down. Ho-Yin Ng, Director at AL_A said: “Sky is proud of its beginnings on an industrial business park on the fringes of central London. AL_A worked with Sky to re-imagine a simple ‘shed’ typology as a means of bringing the broadcaster’s activities and people together under one roof in a series of modern and people-centric workplaces on its campus in Osterley.

The design embraces the simplicity of the industrial shed, the roots of the campus’s context, and defines a new model for the industry’s fast-paced and evolving future.” Andrew Jackson, Sky Project Manager for Sky Central said: “Sky Central is a unique creation, embodying the Campus vision of bringing people together to do the best work of their careers. The huge light-filled volumes of space are simple and intuitive yet inspiring and energising, timeless and yet thoroughly modern.” The three-storey, 37,700m2 (GIA) building features a large triple-height central atrium above the bustling 100-metre long Sky Street that runs the entire width of the ground floor.

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The building feels open and transparent because Sky want to make it easy to see what is going on across the business and for everyone to feel the DNA of Sky. The roof of Sky Central is designed to maximise natural light. It is characterised by a grid of skylights that allow daylight to penetrate through the building to create top-lit workspaces, reducing façade glazing and the reliance on artificial lighting. Sky Central reflects the broadcaster’s industrial heritage, updated to the standards expected of a 21st century broadcaster, with an anodised aluminium cladding that is a high-quality evocation of those humble origins.

Sky Central is a safe, healthy and environmentally sustainable place for everyone, and has been designed to a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standard.

PLP was invited to design the building’s interior, develop the external envelope to respond to the changing interior programme and deliver the project through to completion following an invited design competition via the main contractor bid.

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