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The BBC's Head of Workplace joins our abrdn-hosted forum this June

Above: Glen Howells' design for re-modelling the Typhoo Tea Factory in Digbeth for BBC Birmingham - image above showing meanwhile uses and the canal, with BDP as executive architects (from GHA)

Future Cities Forum is delighted that the Director of Workplace and Corporate Real Estate at the BBC, Alan Bainbridge, will join our discussions this month on sustainable workplace investment and design.

He is responsible for managing the BBC Estate across the UK and has overseen the major property projects in Belfast and Central Square Cardiff, describing himself having the vision and drive to transform people, workplaces and organisations, creating workplaces where employees are engaged and business results achieved.

BDP - who will be at our workplace forum this June - has been appointed to deliver the adaptive reuse of the historic Typhoo Wharf factory in Digbeth, creating a modern, technologically advanced office and studio space for the BBC, that will be a catalyst for wider district regeneration.

Delivering a Glenn Howells Architects design and working with developer, Stoford, BDP will act as delivery architect for ‘The Tea Factory’. The project will reinvigorate the old factory buildings and the immediate surrounding area, delivering 84,001 square feet of new commercial premises for the BBC and 2,884 square feet of new leisure space.

A double height facade will provide a highly visible and public face to the building, connecting it to the surrounding public realm and local communities. An atrium will run through the centre of the building, promoting collaboration, acting as a social centre for the whole development.

The building’s first and second floors will be flexible, accommodating radio studios, TV production facilities, editing suites and traditional workspaces, including collaborative areas and meeting rooms.

Starting with a low-carbon baseline of adaptively re-using the existing building, this sustainable design aims to support mitigation of climate change; the main building will include rainwater harvesting and will generate electricity through south-facing photovoltaics, while a brown roof to the south will enhance local biodiversity. It will re-activate and reimagine the district providing employment and public realm improvement.

The wider project will also reinvigorate the entire Typhoo Wharf site with more than 800,000 square feet of new residential and commercial schemes, new public spaces and connections to local transport hubs and surrounding areas.

The approved plans will become an exemplar and catalyst for the rebirth of Digbeth, bolstering it as the creative quarter and centre for innovation in the city. It will also contribute to Birmingham’s transformation into a greener, healthier, walkable, cyclable and more attractive city.

BDP’s experience in delivering these environments will be crucial in the creation of The Tea Factory as the design consultancy continues to deliver media environments for major broadcasters and studios across North America and Europe.

Tom Hewitt, Architect Director at BDP, explains:

“The BBC has a big role to play in the success of Birmingham and we are delighted to be working with Stoford to bring forward this new development. We are utilising all our technical expertise to deliver a state-of-the-art facility while maintaining much of the old factory’s character, utilising the existing structural frame and facades, and making a conscious effort to reduce the carbon footprint of the project.

"The completed building will strongly contribute to the innovative masterplan that uses the existing site and layout to create a modern place for working, leisure and living, that will reflect the working traditions, culture and ethos of the corporation.

“This is a real coup for Digbeth and Birmingham and it will undoubtedly attract more talent and creativity to the region.”

The new broadcasting house is set to be complete and ready for staff to occupy in 2026.


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