BBC Scotland staff begin move into new £188m HQ

17 Apr 2007

The Herald, by Phil Miller, Arts Correspondent

Rather like a television set, it appears on the outside to be a dull and dreary box.

However, this box cost more than £188m and is the new headquarters of the BBC in Scotland, a building which will contain the corporation's radio, television and online services as well as the biggest studio outside London.

Around 100 staff from the BBC's radio division yesterday began work at the new building at Pacific Quay, beside the Clyde in Glasgow, which replaces the cramped and decrepit old studios at Queen Margaret Drive in the city's west end.

Inside the building, which contains 648 sq metres of space open to the public, is dominated by a huge, stepped internal "street" which rises 95ft, past five floors, to the roof area and restaurant. This impressive feature dominates the interior, which is otherwise made of more conventional open-plan offices, and also conceals three major studio spaces, including the cavernous Studio A, which at 8500sq ft is the biggest in Scotland.

The internal street is furnished and enhanced by designers Graven Images to provide colour to the otherwise somewhat severe steel-grey interior, which insiders acknowledged had initially given some staff cause for alarm. There are also two specially built garden sheds, painted red, and situated on different floors.

"It is a bit of fun and helps to break up the floor space," said Donald Iain Brown, the head of talent. "People can do what they like inside them."

The new headquarters, one and a half times the size of Queen Margaret Drive, is entirely fitted with HD technology and will serve the corporation north of the border for at least the next 30 years - it is also only half a kilometre from rival broadcasters STV, who also have a new headquarters along the banks of the Clyde.

By August the entire staff of the BBC will be in the building, moving in stages in the coming months - BBC2 in Scotland has been broadcasting from the site for the past four weeks, while Ken MacQuarrie, controller of BBC Scotland, moves in at the end of this month.

Atholl Duncan, head of news and current affairs at BBC Scotland, said that in the new building colleagues from radio, TV and online would all be working together to provide news for the station.

"One of the features of working at Queen Margaret Drive is that actually putting together a programme is a nightmare, staff spend all their time walking the corridors, which is good in that it keeps us all fit but it is not ideal for what we are doing," he said. "Now Jackie Bird will be doing makeup and her desk is only 10 yards away."

Mr MacQuarrie said: "This magnificent building is unique, offering a fantastic working environment which will shape the future of broadcasting and welcome our audiences to come in and see their BBC."

Clyde built

  • The 34,000 sq metre building, on the south bank of the Clyde, was designed by architect David Chipperfield.
  • The main feature of the building is an internal "stepped street'' that rises 95ft along the length of the building.
  • Studio A is the biggest recording space in Scotland, enclosing a sizeable 8500 sq ft.
  • It will be home to the BBC's three wings: radio, TV and online.
  • There are two garden sheds, both painted red, situated on separate floors, to "break up the space''.
  • More than 1300 staff will work at the building.
  • Its final budget, including training, technology and the land on which the building stands, is £188.4m.


Reproduced with the permission of The Herald (Glasgow) © Newsquest (Herald & Times) Ltd.

  • BBC Scotland buidling at night

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