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BBC Media City

Optima had previously completed work for the BBC, namely at Portland Place in London, which was a very successful project.

Much of it was completely bespoke and precisely engineered due to the high acoustic requirements of the studio areas. However, Optima had devised flexible solutions that met and exceeded the acoustic brief.

Salford Quays, Manchester

Chapman Taylor LLP

Lend Lease

The Space

On the back of this work, Optima was given the opportunity to tender for the BBC Media City project in Salford, Manchester. This project spanned across a 36-acre site BBC office building which totalled 44,000m² of internal floor space. In line with this, the partitioning package alone was in excess of £1 million.

The project was part of the BBC’s plan to reduce costs by undergoing a large-scale decentralisation, relocating 5 London-based departments to Salford: the UK’s first purpose-built scheme.

The Project

After winning the Salford bid to install acoustic partitioning systems throughout the BBC Media City, Optima worked closely with Chapman Taylor LLP and Lend Lease to bring exciting concepts to life.

To transform the designated space into the buzzing and leading Media City that it is today, Chapman Taylor envisaged the creation of an upmarket, contemporary and innovative hub to rival the many media cities that were emerging globally.

From fruition to completion this was a totally bespoke project. Demanding unprecedented levels of acoustic performance that were in excess of Rw60dB – with the highest value required being Rw73dB – this was one project where pin-point accuracy had to be at its heart.

We were able to use our experience gained during the BBC Portland Place project to demonstrate our technical and acoustic expertise. At the BBC Media City, there were to be numerous different glazed screen types, each with a different acoustic requirement according to where they were placed in relation to the recording studios.

During the project, Optima installed glazed partitioning to the editing suites, glazed windows between the editing suites and anti-reflective glazing to the broadcasting studios. We also installed glazing in the general office areas.

Before designing and installing any of these bespoke elements, we acoustically tested every single screen type in a sound laboratory at the Manchester University. From there, we were able to generate our own acoustic specification. Our test results often exceeded the ratings that had been specified by Sandy Brown Associates, the acoustic consultants on the project.  For instance, the double glazed partitions were bespokely designed with split frames and a perforated tray within the cavity to further enhance the acoustic performance beyond the original rating.

In addition to these high function prestigious new offices, production facilities and studios for the BBC, the scheme saw the development of a separate studio complex, apartments, a hotel, a multi-storey car park, speculative office buildings, a new media department for the University of Salford, an energy centre and retail and catering facilities all at the same site. The scheme has created a real epicentre of activity, inspiration and excitement.

The Result

Surrounded by water, this digital hub has completely transformed the Salford Quays skyline both from an aesthetic perspective and from a more fiscal point of view. The end result is a modern and cutting edge facility that is changing the face of communication.

This construction has also become the first development in the world to obtain BREEAM Sustainable Community status, which is certainly something that we are delighted to have been involved with.

Working with Optima


Once phase one was complete, Optima was instructed complete two further buildings on the site. This signifies the complete confidence that the leading project team had in Optima’s ability and expertise, and demonstrates our commitment to exceed the brief time and time again.



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