The BAFTA headquarters has been expanded and redesigned thanks to a project focused on the training needs of today and tomorrow
A place for the talents of today and tomorrow, and to foster creativity. A place to develop skills and innovation through an exchange of ideas that, from the heart of the United Kingdom, aims to reach out and be increasingly international. The headquarters of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) at 195 Piccadilly has undergone an expansion and redesign project overseen by Benedetti Architects that almost entirely prioritized teaching and training needs. This focus on education has been the academy’s mission since its foundation. It now wants to take this one step further with more flexible architecture designed to meet the needs of its students. This comprehensive expansion also involved a new top floor, with two large rooflight structures raised and refurbished, and decorative plasterwork – thought to be lost for over forty years – restored.
With the interiors redesigned by the same studio, the renovated headquarters has a more flexible and functional organization of spaces. The usable area of the building has, in fact, been doubled, chiefly through a creative reworking and redesigned connecting spaces. These new elements have been combined with technological and structural innovations that will improve the long-term economic and social sustainability of the structure. Made possible through donations, this heartfelt renovation project was also needed given the history of the building, which was built in 1883 as the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colour. The academy has occupied the site since 1974.
A new top floor was created by raising and restoring the Victorian-era rooflight structures and decorative plasterwork, and combining them with the addition of large windows. The level has new rooms as well as a terrace that overlooks the church of Saint James Piccadilly.
The 227-seat Princess Anne Theatre is located on the floor below, flanked by a 41-seat cinema and the Kenworthy Gallery exhibition space. There are also spaces for recreation or lunch, and, on the second floor, kitchens.
A key part of the project was to create flexible spaces with the potential for further expansion and adaption to future functions, therefore satisfying changing teaching and use needs for years to come, beginning with growing student numbers.
Location: London, UK
Architect & Interior Design: Benedetti Architects
Client: BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts)
Contractor: Knight Harwood
Structural Engineers: Price & Myers
Services Engineer: Harley Haddow
Project Manager and QS: Jackson Coles
Planning Consultant: DP9
Lighting Designer: LAPD
Acoustic Consultant: Sandy Brown
Heritage Consultant: Alan Baxter Heritage
Fire Engineer: BWC Fire
Individual photo credits are included in each gallery image