The Sky’s the limit

The Sky’s the limit


BDG architecture + design was engaged by Sky in February 2015 to create ‘Digital Centre of Excellence’ northern hub for Sky creating a new workspace platform.

The core brief was to provide a space for a mix of new and existing staff comprising high-tech development engineers and young graduates to support the ‘Sky Academy’ programme. The new environment was required to provide a welcoming home for existing staff, as well as an aspirational recruiting springboard for Sky, with an exciting, informing and fresh environment. BDG worked with Sky to review a number of buildings in Leeds leading to the selection and development of an occupation strategy of three buildings along the dockside in Leeds, which provides occupancy for over 700 people. BDG initially worked with the developer’s design team to explore core options for the space before finalising on the implemented Cat A solution that saw the creation of new mezzanine floors, stairs, lift and WC cores to each building.

The interior took the existing shell space (there were no cores) and channeled the existing building fabric of exposed concrete and block-work into the final design. The design was based around a neutral ‘industrial’ palette, with punches of colour injected through the furniture and new building componentry, such as the bold prefabricated steel stairs that are present in each building with slight variations in design.

BDG used the natural layout of the space to inform the planning where possible, taking the brief into account and providing open plan space, quiet zones, interaction zones and specialist facilities, including a small TV studio for one-to-one broadcasting.


Allied London had commissioned different graffiti artists to provide the hoardings for unlet space, and to bring an upbeat and contemporary pace to the space, these were recycled into the final interior design enhancing the dynamic.

The detail design evolved through close and detailed collaboration with Sky’s technology team to ensure that at each stage the opportunities for the space could be maximised. The final result was a development that quickly met the client’s aspirations and is now fully operational.

Clive Hall, Director at BDG commented, “The brief provided by Sky represented a significant opportunity for them to establish this new enterprise in Leeds, distinct from their other facilities in the city. It is intended to attract people who really want to work for Sky, whilst providing a catalyst to re-energise the products and markets. As such, this new workspace is a trail blazer for Sky in the region.”

The project team included: BDG architecture + design; AMS Ltd – MEP design; JLL – Cost and Project Management; Gleeds Health and Safety – CDM consultant; GSA – Approved Inspectors; Knapp Hicks & Partners – Structural Design and Como – contractor. | Images courtesy of Gareth Gardner.

Jade Tilley
Jade Tilley

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