Text description provided by the architects. Conceived as a home for Sky’s Believe in Better schools outreach and academy training programmes, the Believe in Better Building has a clear social idea based around community focus, education, and super-flexibility. Arup Associates took the project from inception to site in three months and the project was completed in one year. The first multi-storey timber commercial office in the UK, it demonstrates the use of offsite prefabrication and timber construction to achieve a unique workplace in half the normal time-frame.
Part of the brief was that the spaces should be adaptable over the long-term and none of the main spaces were conceived with fixed uses in mind: partitions slide and unfold to interconnect a shifting landscape of creative thinking rooms and party spaces alternating as venues for breakout, clusters, mingling, informal meeting and school party role playing. A large, open-plan, column free space accommodates large meetings and gatherings, and room partitions are designed to achieve enhanced acoustic separation commensurate with the potential multi-media teaching in adjacent rooms.
An open staircase rises through the triple height atrium to the rooftop terrace and restaurant. At first and second floors the stair width is increased to incorporate breakout spaces, providing not only circulation, and visual communication across the floors and out to the plaza, but creates a social and interactive focus to the building.
The building is an exemplar of sustainable design, focused on creating specific, holistic, integrated conditions for optimising the health and well-being of Sky’s staff and visitors: quality day-lighting, air quality, natural material selection including the extensive use of natural wood, and a design that adapts itself to the user’s requirements.
This building is an inspiring place for creativity and learning, a showcase and public face to Sky as well as an inviting multi-functional amenity for the staff and visitors to Sky to use.