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Case Study 30 – BBC Pacific Quay

Name of building
BBC Pacific Quay
Date Completed
Building type
Pacific Quay, Glasgow
David Chipperfield Architects / Graven Images
Main contractor

Bovis Lendlease
Stancliffe Stone

Anticipated lifespan of building
> 50 years

Stone features

The BBC Scotland HQ building was designed to be a major part of the new innovation quarter in the Science Park in the Pacific Quay area of the city. The remarkable glass façade ensures that the perspective of the building will change throughout the day, across the seasons and from different viewpoints. The building’s interior is a striking example of a natural stone clad heart to a building. A defining feature is the internal, stepped red sandstone ‘street’ that rises throughout the entire length of the building, providing break-out spaces and informal meeting areas, as well as offering visitors a dramatic view of BBC Scotland at work. Red sandstone was selected as the principal material for the most dramatic feature in the building – the central staircase or ‘street’. It sits alongside steel, glass and concrete finishes giving a reflective nod to Glasgow tenements and the shipbuilding heritage of the Prince’s Dock site on which the building stands.

Special techniques

The design of the building reflects Glasgow’s industrial heritage and this theme is reflected in the materials used
in its construction and the way in which these materials are used. Solid blocks of sandstone sit alongside bare concrete and exposed pipes, both a deliberate and contrasting part of the design. Technology is incorporated everywhere in the building and on the glazed south façade the blinds adjust themselves automatically depending on the daylight levels and the position of the sun. The stone used for the floor is different from that used for the wall. The more interestingly patterned ‘Lazonby’ sandstone was used for the walls, and the harder, more robust ‘Locharbriggs’ was used for the floor and steps. Both are red in colour and reflect the type of stone used traditionally in buildings in the Glasgow area. Locharbriggs sandstone is a Scottish stone and Lazonby was imported from

Background to building

The purpose-built BBC headquarters building at Pacific Quay in Glasgow was constructed in 2008 to replace smaller premises on Queen Margaret Drive in the west of the city. Accommodating approximately 1200 staff and visitors, the new building was designed to house offices, meeting spaces, television and radio studios, as well as storage, archiving and areas for public exhibitions and outreach. This vibrant complex, designed by David Chipperfield Architects, marks the beginning of a new era for the BBC and broadcasting in Scotland. The 34,000m 2 digital centre sets a new standard in terms of state of the art technology, production methods and public access and will play a central role in the regeneration of the wider urban area.

The building is the only site to join up all of BBC’s media – TV, radio and online – linking the national hub with all
other BBC centres around Scotland. The new centre also features the UK’s most advanced broadcasting studios and production facilities. The main studio, ‘Studio A’, is the biggest TV recording space and the second largest TV studio in Britain, enclosing 790m 2 .


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