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BBC Studios Unveils New HOK-Designed Bristol Workplace

BBC Studios’ new Bristol workplace is its largest outside London and houses staff from some of its most popular programs.

Designed in collaboration with HOK’s London studio, the new BBC Studios workplace in Bristol accommodates staff from the world-renowned Natural History Unit (NHU) and Factual Entertainment, producer of programs such as Top Gear, Antiques Roadshow, Gardeners’ World, Countryfile and DIY SOS.

“We designed the space to showcase the content pioneers, inventors and reinventors of BBC Studios, while also providing an inclusive and inspiring workplace that motivates people to do their best work and helps them feel valued,” said Tim Hatton, senior interior design professional at HOK.

The 60,000-sq.-ft. workplace spans the lower three floors of the six-story Bridgewater House in the heart of Bristol. HOK designed the news space to reflect BBC Studios’ commitment to inclusivity, collaboration and sustainability.

A separate entrance and reception welcome employees and guests into the workplace. Bi-fold doors along the reception area open onto a landscaped garden, allowing the space to quickly flex for hosting events and other gatherings. An auditorium on the ground floor provides additional space for presentations and masterclasses.

To help all staff feel included, the workplace accommodates both hypersensitive and hyposensitive individuals. Employees may choose work settings that best suit their tasks and preferred surroundings.

Non-hierarchical office space on the top two levels features team neighborhoods wrapped around the perimeter of the building. This broken-plan layout uses shelving, plants and dividers to form collaboration space and focus areas. Adjustable whiteboards embedded within the shelving help create customizable team zones and add acoustic privacy.

A central breakout area overlooking the ground-floor reception and events space serves as a social hub. Additional breakout/tea points on the office floors bring employees together. A variety of furniture types in these spaces encourage their use for work and socializing throughout the day.

The design reinforces BBC Studios’ commitment to the environment and NHU’s reputation as the world’s leading producer of content about the natural world.

All timber was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and most of the furniture in the workplace was reused. Additional health and sustainability measures included the use of clay-based paints that reduce airborne contaminants and walls made of cork, a natural and rapidly renewable material that also mitigates noise. The space has been awarded SKA Gold certification.

HOK collaborated with Studio B, AECOM, Cath Leach and Currie & Brown on the design.

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