Benedetti Architects uncovers forgotten Victorian skylights inside BAFTA headquarters

The Grade II-listed BAFTA headquarters in London’s Picadilly have acquired an overhaul from native studio Benedetti Architects, who raised the roof to squeeze in a brand new prime flooring whereas unifying its disparate interiors.

Constructed in 1883, the constructing initially served because the Royal Institute of Portray in Watercolours and was tailored advert hoc over the next years earlier than the British Academy of Movie and Tv Arts (BAFTA) took over in 1976.

Benedetti Architects was introduced on board in 2016 after successful a contest to utterly rework the house.

Benedetti Architects renovated the BAFTA headquarters in London. Photograph by Rory Mulvey

Scrambling round within the loft as a part of his analysis, venture lead Renato Benedetti found two huge Victorian roof lanterns, full with ornate plasterwork, that had been boarded up greater than 40 years prior when BAFTA created a cinema within the house under.

The apply’s pitch centred on lifting up the roof and turning the loft right into a members’ space, with the 2 big skylights being eliminated, restored and reinstated because the crowning glory of the brand new prime storey.

“BAFTA cherished the concept though they did not suppose it was doable,” Benedetti instructed Dezeen. “However that is precisely what we did and it has been the motive force for the entire venture.”

Golden counter below Victorian roof lantern
The studio uncovered the constructing’s two hidden skylights

Moulds have been made earlier than the intricate plaster was fastidiously eliminated, permitting specialist restorers to match new sections seamlessly with the unique design.

Aside from the roof lights, virtually all of the constructing’s authentic options comparable to flooring and staircases have been misplaced as sections of the constructing have been rented out by completely different tenants over its haphazard historical past.

Below the financial institution of seating within the cinema although, the crew discovered simply sufficient of the unique oak flooring to suit inside the brand new top-floor boardroom.

“The lengthy strips have been fairly broken, so we minimize them all the way down to shorter lengths and laid them in a geometrical sample,” stated Benedetti.

Plaster mouldings under BAFTA headquarters skylights
Ornate plater mouldings have been fastidiously restored

Equally, the remaining bits of marble from completely different schemes across the BAFTA headquarters have been collaged collectively to create an announcement countertop for the boardroom.

The room is centred by an oval timber desk, which the studio designed to really feel “extra pleasant and fewer hierarchical” than a typical boardroom, full with snug “wrap-around” chairs that will also be stacked.

“We used a personality grade of oak with huge knots and imperfections, which I like,” stated Benedetti. “It makes the timber extra fascinating.”

Boardroom with round desk by Benedetti Architects
The BAFTA boardroom is centred on an oval picket desk. Photograph by James Newton

Elsewhere throughout the constructing, responsibly sourced European oak was laid in a wide range of patterns to cowl flooring and partitions.

For the principle circulation areas comparable to the doorway corridor and the steps, the studio used an ivory-coloured terrazzo with brass trims peeking out between the large-format tiles.

Brass accents are repeated all through the constructing on handrails, trims, lighting and on the reveals across the lifts. “Right here, the sheet brass has a slight sheen, a little bit lustre however not too blingy,” stated Benedetti.

The terrazzo, too, is flecked with gold-coloured specks that improve in amount because the consumer ascends up by way of the constructing and peak on the members’ flooring on the prime.

“The highest flooring feels just like the fruits, the crescendo of the house,” stated Benedetti.

This identical concept is repeated throughout the partitions, with the decrease flooring wrapped in stained-oak slats punctuated by black acoustic panels whereas on the members’ flooring, there is a extra refined profile to the oak slats and the panels are changed by a brass mesh.

Red marble bar by Benedetti Architects
The brand new prime flooring homes a members’ space. Photograph by Jim Stephenson

Travertine is the ultimate key ingredient of the headquarters’ materials palette, utilized in big slabs and as fluted tiles in addition to forming one of many constructing’s bars.

“It has an awesome texture and it has been in use since Roman occasions, so it is fairly timeless,” the architect defined.

The constructing’s trio of roof lanterns, together with the 2 that have been newly uncovered, now sit over the David Attenborough rooms – a members’ space that appears out throughout the tree cover of St James’ churchyard.

Double-height space inside refurbished BAFTA headquarters by Benedetti Architects
A purple marble bar impressed the color palette for the adjoining cinema. Photograph by Thomas Alexander

The furnishings right here was chosen by the architect in collaboration with Soho Residence – the interiors arm of members’ membership Soho Home.

To cut back warmth acquire and maintain out dangerous UV rays, the roof lights are built-in with photo voltaic shading home windows by Dutch firm Eyrise.

“It is an fascinating new materials, from the within it seems to be clear, however from outdoors it seems virtually black,” Benedetti defined.

Wood panelled walls in interior by Benedetti Architects
European oakwood panelling options all through the inside. Photograph by Jim Stephenson

The members’ flooring additionally homes a brand new intimate 41-seat cinema, its wealthy purple color palette knowledgeable the selection of purple Italian marble for the adjoining bar.

The bigger authentic cinema was utterly up to date in partnership with Dolby, integrating a high-tech audio-visual system.

In the meantime, the Ray Dolby Room is designed as a flexible occasion house, the place the conventionally wood-panelled partitions and moulded ceiling may be rapidly remodeled into an area for 360-degree wall-mapping projections.

3D-screening room inside BAFTA headquarters
The Ray Dolby Room can be utilized for 360-degree wall-mapping projections. Photograph by Jordan Anderson

Benedetti was not too long ago named because the architect on one other high-profile renovation within the British capital – the £20-million revamp of the Grade II-listed RIBA headquarters.

Beforehand, the architect was one half of McDowell+Benedetti, which was identified for modern bridge designs together with Hull’s Scale Lane Bridge and Castleford Bridge in West Yorkshire earlier than the duo disbanded in 2016.

The images is by Luca Piffaretti except in any other case said.

Jorda Anderson, Thomas Alexander, Rory Mulvey, James Newton, and Jim Stephenson.