Harlequin 1

Arup Associates, Brentford, 2010


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  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor    
  • First floor plan    
  • Second floor plan    
  • Third floor plan    
  • Fourth floor plan    
  • Roof plan    
  • North elevation    
  • East elevation    
  • South elevation    
  • West elevation    
  • Cladding external view    
  • Chimney details    

Sustainable broadcasting, studio and data-centre located in a west London industrial estate

Harlequin 1 houses eight large recording studios at ground-floor level for BSkyB’s broadcast and sports news departments. On the middle floors there are production facilities, editing suites, offices for 1,370 staff and data rooms for 400 computer servers to meet the demands of high-definition broadcasting.

Transmission platforms are located at high level, along with the building services plant. The accommodation is distributed efficiently across deep floor plates and the raised-floor zone, set at a depth of 800mm throughout so it doesn’t need sprinklers, optimises flexibility.

Harlequin 1 has the world’s first naturally ventilated recording studios, a challenge given the flight path to nearby Heathrow Airport and the high temperatures generated by lighting equipment.

The architects provided acoustic separation by designing the studios as concrete boxes floating on acoustic isolation mountings, with the air intake construction below designed to avoid high air velocity, which would generate noise. The east elevation features prominent vertical ventilation stacks and solar shading fins.


  • Begun: Nov 2007
  • Completed: Mar 2010
  • Floor area: 22,400m2
  • Sectors: Industrial, Office
  • Total cost: £233M
  • Procurement: Construction management
  • Address: Harlequin Avenue, Brentford, TW8 9EW, United Kingdom

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