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Hoare Lea joins our Creative Cities forum at the BFI this March

Above: portrait of Barry Jobling of Hoare Lea (Courtesy Hoare Lea)

Future Cities Forum is delighted that Barry Jobling - film studio specialist and director of engineering consultancy Hoare Lea - will be speaking at our British Film Institute 'Creative Cities' event this month.

Hoare Lea is working on Sky Studios’ Elstree project in Hertfordshire, where Sky is creating a 32-acre TV and film studio that will allow more high quality, original content to be created. The new development will sit beside the current studios and is a significant investment in to the creative economy. It’s forecasted to create up to 2,000 jobs in the local area. The project's team includes NBCUniversal and Comcast, Hertsmere Borough Council and L&G.

In addition to the Elstree project, Hoare Lea's work in the UK film studios sector includes Warner Bros Leaveden Studios (completed) Space Studios in Manchester (completed), Eastbrook Studios Dagenham (under construction), Shinfield Studios near Reading and Pinewood Screen Hub in Buckinghamshire (both at planning application stage).

Barry states that since joining Hoare Lea in 2004, he has seen improvements in acoustic quality and recognition of the value of good sound quality in buildings. His involvement in projects can be from a very early stage of design, during testing feasibility, assisting with negotiating planning matters, and right through to developing concepts.

He describes his biggest engineering challenge:

'Warner Bros Leavesden Studios brought an array of massive challenges. We designed film stage buildings in ways that hadn’t been done before. A one-line email from the chief studio director declaring that acoustics was the single most important factor for the project set the scene. But this was set against the backdrop of an incredibly limited build time and budget. This drove us to innovate with new ways, to apply sophistication in our analysis beyond the norm, to collaborate with manufacturers to adapt and tailor products, and to work closely with the on-site teams. We got there!'

He says that understanding sound stages is critical to design and engineering success:

'Whilst appearing simple in design and form, film studios and sound stages are some of the most demanding spaces. They are places where millions can be spent to produce some of the most fantastic cinematography. And those using the spaces can be very demanding.'

'Critical to every sound stage is the need for quiet enjoyment and the use of space. Combined with an area that needs to provide the utmost flexibility to the production companies, literally moving from Space Age scenes to the Dark Ages in a matter of weeks, without losing the essence of what lies behind the building.'


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