The Sky Academy Skills Studios in Livingston are new build educational studios designed to provide hands on experience for students of schools and colleges. The project provides an excellent example of where we have worked closely with a client to create an inspiring learning environment with M&E design underpinned by a strong focus on the requirements of the end user – students.
The facility has four studio spaces suitable for eight people at a time, and aims to provide 12,000 young people per year, aged 8 to 18, with a free learning experience that links to the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and helps students build life skills. It also has an immersion room and a welcome room which provides a seating area for students. Students are able to create their own TV report about a subject they are studying at school using state-of-the-art technology, including broadcast quality cameras, green screens and touch screen edit tables. Our appointment on the project covered building services, sustainability, and acoustics consultancy, along with performing BREEAM assessor duties, with the project targeting BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating.
A comparable Skills Studio had previously been developed by Sky at their Osterley Campus, and we therefore quickly engaged with the operator of this facility and the design team (who had also been appointed to the Livingstone project) to establish any lessons learnt from the previous facility. This early engagement enabled us to quickly identify that, from an M&E perspective, the key project drivers (along with general life safety requirements) were to provide a comfortable temperature along with an acoustic environment suitable for a simulated ‘live’ broadcasting environment to enable students to fully engage with the technology. We therefore developed a solution for a displacement ventilation system to ensure the occupied zones were effectively temperature controlled whilst mitigating draughts utilising low velocity supply diffusers, meeting the requirements for both cooling and noise minimisation.
The Livingstone studio builds on the success of the first Sky Academy Skills Studios at Sky’s headquarters in West London, where 18,000 students have taken part in the experience since its launch in 2012.