BSKYB set out to build the most ecologically sustainable broadcasting complex in Europe – it did not want to merely build a monument to the Sky brand. Instead, BSkyB was after a building that would allow it to change and grow. Sky Sports News was to be the first, and largest, studio to go on air from the new building. It was also to serve as the pathfinder for everything that followed, highlighting the gravity of the project.
As project managers, we were responsible for developing the technical brief with Sky and working with its creative team; as well as working with the architects Boulter Kalitowski to achieve the required aesthetic feel.
Even as the building was nearing completion, the brief was constantly evolving. Projects like this can often change mid-project in order to accommodate the high standards that were demanded by everyone involved.
It was abundantly clear from the outset that the technical demands for the main furniture elements were going to be a complex challenge. To create the organically flowing curves each desk required its own unique shape, making them part of an enormous jigsaw puzzle.
Getting the desks right was one of the most critical elements of the studio construction, as this would support the 350 computer monitors and 100 kilometers of data, coax and power cabling. We needed a manufacturer with the in-house capability and the technical know-how to guarantee success.
K+N were selected because it had the necessary experience to take on a project of this magnitude. The company worked closely with the team to interpret the designs and ensure that the final product delivered value. It produced two mock workstations: one was installed in the new Sky Sports newsroom to see how it appeared on camera, the other was built in Sky’s technical centre, where it was tested rigorously by the eventual end-users. K+N’s technical department used the information from testing to produce a final prototype.
Due to the enormity of the project, the final programme of delivery was incredibly tight. But in the end, as the newsroom was pieced together, all areas of the project – from the under-floor services, provision of technical cabling, air conditioning, streamed monitors, control desks, edit suites, the presenters desk, cameras and lighting – were all delivered according to plan.
The launch date for the new studio was set, however, it involved shutting down the old Sky Sports newsroom overnight before going live in the new studio at 6am the following morning. Months of preparation, testing and dry runs ensured the transfer to the new studios was smooth. Thanks to the efforts of all those involved it was all completed on time.
The end result was a fantastic studio buzzing with activity and purpose, bringing the latest sports news to fans across the world. The switch-over was seamless, and Kirsty Gallagher was the first presenter to broadcast from the new studio, presenting the show Good Morning Sports Fans.
Trevor Mott is a managing partner at TMC/MAG, an office planning and property consultancy www.tmconsultancy.biz